Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unfortunate fall last week meant a fracture and subsequent surgery Friday to repair the break in her right elbow.
It’s not clear if this was just a nasty fall or if Clinton has any underlying conditions such as osteoporosis that contributed to the fracture. Her spokesperson declined to comment about whether she’d received any such diagnosis after the accident.
Regardless, for many women who are roughly the same age as Clinton this is the kind of accident that often serves as a wake-up call that they should get themselves screened for the bone-weakening condition osteoporosis and its precursor, osteopenia.
Clinton, 61, reportedly fell in the State Department basement as she was on the way to a meeting and heading to her car.
But for about 10 million Americans who have osteoporosis in this country — roughly 8 million of whom are older women — a broken bone is often the first, and only, warning of osteoporosis.
“There are no symptoms until the first break, so you’ll know if you get a simple fracture from a simple fall,” ABC News medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard said this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” And she added that the drop in hormone production that accompanies menopause signals an increased risk for the condition.
“All post-menopausal women are at risk,” Savard said. “The older you are, the more at risk you are.”
But not everyone who is at risk for osteoporosis knows it — possibly due to the incorrect stereotype that only frail, old women experience the condition. As a result, only about 20 percent of women who have a telltale fracture from osteoporosis — most often in the spine, hip or wrist — ever get properly diagnosed and treated.
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