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Reviewed June 2010
It is a common misconception that osteoporosis only affects white women. But, according to the Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis, in the United States, the prevalence of osteoporosis in Hispanic women is similar to that in white women. Fortunately, osteoporosis is preventable and treatable. As a Hispanic woman, it is important that you understand your risk for osteoporosis, the steps you can take to protect your bones, and, if you have the disease, the options for treating it.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. If not prevented or if left untreated, bone loss can progress painlessly until a bone breaks, typically in the hip, spine, or wrist. A hip fracture can limit mobility and lead to a loss of independence, and vertebral fractures can result in a loss of height, stooped posture, and chronic pain.
Several risk factors increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, including:
Several studies indicate a number of facts that highlight the risk that Hispanic women face with regard to developing osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis prevention begins in childhood. Building strong bones, especially before the age of 20, can be the best defense against developing bone loss. A healthy lifestyle can be critically important for keeping bones strong. The recommendations listed below should be followed throughout life to lower your risk of osteoporosis.
Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of osteoporosis or other factors that may put you at increased risk for the disease. Your doctor may suggest that you have your bone density measured through a safe and painless test that can
determine your risk for fractures (broken bones), and measure your response to osteoporosis treatment. The most widely recognized bone mineral density (BMD) test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DXA test. The BMD test is painless – a bit like having an x ray, but with much less exposure to radiation. It can measure bone density at your hip and spine.
Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, several medications are available for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis, including: bisphosphonates; estrogen agonists/antagonists (also called selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMS); parathyroid hormone; estrogen therapy; hormone therapy; and a recently approved RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitor.
For more information in English and Spanish on osteoporosis, including nutrition, exercise, treatment, and fall prevention for the elderly, visit the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center Web site at www.bones.nih.gov or call 800–624–2663.
For more information on minority health, visit the Office of Minority Health Resource Center Web site at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov or call 800–444–6472.
This fact sheet contains information about medications used to treat the health condition discussed here. When this fact sheet was printed, we included the most up-to-date (accurate) information available. Occasionally, new information on medication is released.
For updates and for any questions about any medications you are taking, please contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at
Toll Free: 888–INFO–FDA (888–463–6332)
For updates and questions about statistics, please contact
Toll Free: 800–232–4636