CDC: 1 in 4 Women = Osteoporosis. Men At Risk As Well

The CDC reports that many American women and some men will deal with bone density issues as they age. Osteoporosis and osteopenia can impact your health, including a higher risk of long-term health care. Being proactive with your health and planning can ease the risk.

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CDC: 1 in 4 Women = Osteoporosis. Men At Risk As Well
3 Min Read August 13th, 2015 Updated:May 12th, 2022

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC indicates that 23% of all Americans aged 50 and older suffer from osteoporosis, a leading cause of long-term health care. While most of these people are women, 4.2% are men.

The weakening bones of osteoporosis dramatically increase a person's odds of having dangerous fractures. As a person gets older, bone density problems cause several health issues, including the need for help with everyday living activities.

Bones Break Down with Age

Bone is living tissue. The problem is as we get older, our bodies start to break down old bone and replace it with new bone tissue. The National Institute on Aging says that at about age 30, our bone mass stops increasing. When we get into our 40s and 50s, more bone gets broken down than is replaced. 

The experts weren't surprised and said more must be done to test for and treat the loss of bone density that comes with getting older. While age is the primary cause of bone density loss, some medications, like steroids, can accelerate the loss of bone density. Many asthma medications, for example, contain steroids. 

Osteoporosis and its precursor condition -- osteopenia (low bone mass), affects more people than many people think.

 It is not just a problem for the 80-year-old individual, but starts to become an issue for many adults in their 50s and 60s

Dr. Saad Chaudhary, a spine surgeon at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.

Women start losing bone mass earlier, but by age 65 or 70, men and women are losing bone at the same rate. One report showed more than 16 percent of all American seniors -- about 25 percent of women and nearly 6 percent of men -- have full-blown osteoporosis, as evidenced by bone density tests of the spine and hip.

Many more people have osteopenia, where their bone loss is already apparent but hasn't reached the stage of osteoporosis. 

Of course, rates of osteoporosis rise with age.

Preventing Bone Loss

Dr. Chaudhary stressed that much of this bone loss could be prevented.

We reach our peak bone mineral density in adolescence and then must work conscientiously to maintain that through activity, a balanced diet, and consultation with health care providers

 Dr. Saad Chaudhary

Neglect your bone health in youth, and the consequences to quality of life could be significant, Chaudhary added.

Osteoporosis is the more severe stage and can often result in one or more fractures of the spine and cause pain and disability

Bone mineral density screening is recommended for postmenopausal women, and men aged 50 and above based on their risk factor profiles, or for all women aged 70 and above and men aged 80 and above


Dr. Saad Chaudhary


A bone density test will be ordered to determine if someone has osteoporosis or osteopenia and assess their risk of a future bone fracture. The test, called a DEXA scan, measures a person's bone density. The test compares an individual's bone density to the bones of an average healthy young adult. The test result is called a T-score. This score is a standard deviation — a mathematical term that calculates how much a result varies from the average or mean. 

If the T-score is –1 or greater: the bone density is considered normal. A score between –1 and –2.5: the person has low bone density, known as osteopenia. T-scores of –2.5 or less: osteoporosis will be the diagnosis, even if the person has no history of a bone fracture.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that your first bone scans for women at age 65 and men at age 70.

Diet is Important

A person's diet is believed to be essential for bone health, especially the amount of calcium and vitamin D a person is intaking. Calcium and vitamin D work together to help strengthen bones. 

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women should get their first bone density test at age 65 and men at age 70. However, many women will have risk factors that make it a good idea to get a baseline scan in their 50s.

Cleveland Clinic lists several risk factors - Bone Density Test - Risk Factors.

Prepared for the Consequences of Aging?

The consequences on your family can be life changing as family caregivers face physical and emotional stress and anxiety. As we get older, we face many challenges, including declining health, mobility problems, and dementia. Are you prepared for these challenges?

Without a plan, we become dependent on others as we need help with daily living activities that we take for granted today. Professional long-term health care is expensive, and those costs are rising rapidly nationwide.

We can stop aging. The problem is real. The solution, for many, is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Since your health insurance and Medicare pays only a fraction of these expenses, you need a way to fund the quality care you deserve without draining assets or creating a burden on those you love.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s - the time many women start scheduling their first bone density test. The insurance will not stop osteoporosis or aging; it will provide you with the guaranteed tax-free benefits to address long-term health care's impact on your family and finances.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

If you have older parents, you probably have seen the consequences of aging firsthand. Declining health, mobility problems, and dementia are all things that can happen as we grow older. Often, this means we become dependent on others as we need help with daily living activities that we take for granted today.

Long-term health care costs will dramatically change your lifestyle and affect your cash flow. If you become dependent on unpaid and untrained family caregivers, they will face stress, anxiety, and health and financial hardships. You probably don't want to place these burdens on those you love.

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You must, however, get a plan before your health substantially changes. Most people get coverage in their 50s when premiums are lower, their health is better, and the most options are available.

 Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

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A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

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If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

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Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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