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Transcript: "What Is Osteoporosis?"

SUSAN ROSSINI: Osteoporosis and the fracture that I've had has had a tremendous impact in my life. It has limited my ability to write, to drive and to function in a daily basis.

ANNOUNCER: Susan Rossini is one of an estimated 10 million Americans over the age of 50 who have osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and causes them to break easily.

LAWRENCE RAISZ, M.D.: Osteoporosis and bone health have become enormous problems in the United States today. Part of that is because of the aging of our population but another problem is that it is not paid attention to. People ignore the issue of bone health-- they don't concern themselves about it until it's too late and they've fractured and are crippled.

ANNOUNCER: Osteoporosis often causes no symptoms. People don't know they have it until their bones become so brittle that a sudden bump or fall causes a break.

LAWRENCE RAISZ, M.D.: Many of my patients come to me with osteoporosis and can't believe it because they've taken calcium all their lives, they've been physically active. What they don't pay attention to, sometimes, is their family. If their mother or father have osteoporosis-- men are particularly shocked when they have an osteoporotic factor because they didn't believe that it was a disease that men get. But men do get it--not as often as women, but often enough.

RICHARD CARMONA, M.D.: The impact of osteoporosis becomes clear when you hear the numbers. Ten million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, while another 34 million are at risk. If we do not take immediate action, by the year 2020, half of all Americans over 50 will have weak bones from osteoporosis, or low bone mass.

ANNOUNCER: The good news about osteoporosis is that it can be treated.

RICHARD CARMONA, M.D.: People don't understand that they can intervene early-- that they can diagnose osteoporosis early to prevent the consequences. Bone disease, especially osteoporosis, leads to a downward spiral in health and quality of life. Many people lose their ability to walk, dress themselves, or they die early. It's vital that Americans take steps to prevent and treat bone disease.

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