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Men and Osteoporosis

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The Faces of Osteoporosis

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The Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education and the California Department of Health Services Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Program worked with photographer Amelia Davis to capture the essence of men, women, and children living with osteoporosis. The book Faces of Osteoporosis is available from Demos Medical Publishing.

Introduction from California Senator Dianne Feinstein

diannefeinstein2Dear Friends,

When many of us hear the word osteoporosis, a picture of an old, frail, hunched woman comes to mind. This is an all too common image. However, osteoporosis affects men and women, young and old, from all ethnic groups and walks of life.

If we are to begin to reduce the numbers of people who have fractures resulting from low bone mass or osteoporosis, we need to see ourselves and our loved ones in the many faces of osteoporosis.

Millions of Americans have low bone mass or osteoporosis. It is very likely that all of us will be touched by this preventable disease – it may be our mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, friend or other family member. As I can tell you from personal experience, the impact of a fracture can change the course of your life immeasurably.

Our first challenge is to recognize that no one is exempt from taking steps to improve his or her bone health. This important book documents the stories of people who are living with osteoporosis. The book will help you understand the silent and devastating impact of the disease. I hope that you will learn from these brave individuals who share their stories with you. We must educate and empower people through knowledge. Together, I hope we can eliminate osteoporosis as a major health problem.

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

May 2006

Ruthie, Age 74

ruthieMy hope for you when you read this story is that you will learn that agony can turn into victory.



Howard, Age 82

Howard_thumbI was born in Mt. Vernon, South Dakota.  I grew up with five brothers and four sisters, sharing a small five-room house with no running water and an outhouse.


Kristi, Age 34

kristen_thumbI’m 34 years old, the youngest of seven children. I’m a Caucasian female, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and small framed at five feet three. I have a family history of osteoporosis. . . and all of the risk factors for being a candidate.

I was diagnosed with osteopenia three years ago. I must say, I was not shocked.


Edith, Age 71

thumb_edithI am a retired registered nurse. I was born and grew up in China. Through my work I have seen patients with severe osteoporosis, some of whom got fractures while they were sleeping.

Being Chinese, I know that the Chinese don’t like to drink milk. So our calcium intake is very poor. Most Asian women like to avoid sunlight in order to keep our skin soft and white. These attitudes contribute to our vitamin D level being low. I myself am tall with thin bones. Therefore, I know


Perry Ann, Age 40

thumb_Perry_Ann_3Osteoporosis—a disease for older people. Or so I thought. I’ve done thousands of weight-bearing reps in the gym; I’ve climbed many mountains, including a few of the highest peaks in North America and northern Europe; I’ve ridden 2,500 miles on my bike in Europe; I play tennis; I do Pilates; I’m young; I eat a healthy diet; I’ve never smoked; I take vitamins; and I’ve never broken a bone. So my bones are healthy, right?


Renea, Age 52

thumb_Renea_2Osteoporosis a disease of the bone that I, along with many  others, associated with the elderly. Especially those who had visual signs of the disease—a hump in their back, walking severely bent over with a cane, or unable to stand upstraight. My attitude and perception changed when I learned that I had osteoporosis! I was hit by a car in February 2003, resulting in the need to stay off of my feet for several months while the broken bones healed.


Lena, Age 52

thumb_lenaMy Mom and I are a lot alike. People say that of my three siblings and me, I am the one who takes after Mom in looks and character. It’s a good thing; Mom was always full of energy, a caring person, compassionate and generous when she was in her prime. She was humble when people complimented her on how she never looked her age. Mom was strong. She and Dad ran a small mom-and pop grocery store together from 1948 until all of us kids were done with college and settled in our own lives.