(BPT) - Authored and Sponsored by Amgen
Susan Fuschino, an elementary school teacher in Pennsylvania, experienced early menopause and, at 47 years old, was forced into early retirement after suffering from extreme back pain. She initially attributed the back pain to being on her feet every day while teaching, however, the pain was excruciating to the point that Fuschino couldn’t walk. She was ultimately diagnosed with compression fractures caused by osteoporosis and became dependent on her daughter to handle daily tasks.
“There are so many things I can’t do on my own anymore,” said Fuschino. “Emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, picking up items off the floor, really any activity that causes pain or puts me at risk of falling.”
Despite being a major public health problem for women worldwide,1 Fuschino had never heard of postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO) before her injury. Many people mistakenly assume that osteoporosis (OP) symptoms, like low back pain and fractures, are typical signs of aging and first learn they have OP after breaking a bone.2,3 “You may not know that you even have osteoporosis until it's too late. Until you have a break or two," Fuschino explains. Many women are unaware that bone loss begins at menopause and you don’t have to be in your 70s or 80s to get osteoporosis.
An unmet need
OP is a common and serious disease and about half of women 50 years and older will sustain an osteoporotic fracture, according to the Mayo Clinic.4,5 The clinic also found that for U.S. women 55 years and older, the hospitalization burden of osteoporotic fractures is greater than that of many other serious diseases combined.5
Even after a bone break, many women are not appropriately diagnosed and about 80% of women are still not treated for OP, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.4 Unfortunately, many health care systems lack a systematic approach to identifying or treating patients for their OP-related issues.6
Don't wait to treat
Decreasing the risk of osteoporotic fractures is important.7 Some things women can do to beef up brittle bones include:
If you’ve already suffered an osteoporotic fracture, you may be five times more likely to fracture again within a year, according to a study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.8 Given this information, it’s clear that treatments for primary and subsequent fractures related to OP are needed.
Treatment options bring hope
OP is a serious condition, but there is hope with appropriate treatment, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.7 Now 51 years old, Fuschino, with the help of specialists, found treatment options that helped her improve bone density. She continues to share her story to raise awareness in hopes to help other women impacted by this disease.
If you or a loved one have osteoporosis and are at high risk of fracture or have already suffered an osteoporotic fracture, you should speak with your doctor about possible treatment plans. Visit UnderstandOP.com to learn about a treatment option, find resources, and learn how to start a conversation with your doctor.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.