The results are in! How well do YouAreUNTLD readers understand osteoporosis? Our poll reveals all….

The theme of our current series on osteoporosis is break myths, not bones. Through our stories and expert input, we’ve showcased the facts in hopes of putting an end to common misconceptions. We also gave YouAreUNLTD readers to chime in by asking a couple key questions about osteoporosis to gauge how well they understand it. The results were surprising and very revealing. Here’s what they showed:

Question 1: Bone density continues to build until age 50.

What readers said:
79% said true. Incorrect. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30.

21% said false. Correct.

Question 2: If you do not consume enough calcium, the body uses what is stored in your bones.

What readers said:
87% said true. Correct. When we don’t have adequate amounts of calcium in our diets, the body will remove it where it’s stored, i.e. your bones.

13% said false

Question 3: The risk of developing osteoporosis for women is 1 out of 4 – the same chances of a Canadian is living with diabetes (diagnosed and not).

What readers said:
79% said true. Correct. An estimated two million Canadians are affected by the disease, especially post-menopausal women.
21% said false. Incorrect.

Question 4: Once you reach age 60, your risk of bone loss increases.

What readers said:
89% said true. False. Bone loss starts to occur much earlier than age 60. By the time we hit 40, bone mass slowly begins to decline.

11% said false. Correct.

Question 5: The body of a 70 year old makes just 25 per cent of the vitamin D as a 20 year old does with the same amount of sun exposure.

What readers said:
97% said true. Correct. This underscores the importance of eating a diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D and using supplements to make up for a shortfall, especially in winter.

3% said false

Question 6: Bone fractures, particularly in the hip or spine, are the most serious complications from osteoporosis.

What readers said:
94% said true. Correct. Hip fractures can have deadly consequences. Data indicates that 28 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men who suffer a hip fracture will die within a year.

6% said false. Incorrect.

The bottom line

There’s some awareness of osteoporosis, but many people aren’t clear about how important it is to take the necessary steps to prevent this potentially debilitating bone disease before it happens. Bone loss happens earlier in life than we think, but diagnosis is unlikely until there is a problem, like a bone fracture. Thinking about bone health shouldn’t wait until later in life. It’s something that deserves awareness much earlier so we can adopt good lifestyle habits that support bone health and living well.