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HEALTH WATCH: Osteoporosis affects about 200 million women worldwide

Osteoporosis affects about 200 million women worldwide.
And doctors say even more don't realize they have it.

Today's Health Watch report explains how to tell if you have the disease and tips to prevent it.

The stats are scary, one in three women over the age of 50 will have an osteoportic fracture.
Doctors say the silent disease causes about 9 million fractures a year,

So what can you do to prevent it?

Pat Pepper started working out a few years ago. "Back then my left leg I could not lift when I first started coming here."

It has helped keep her strong and she loved it so much, she started teaching aerobics to others.
"My bones are fine, my mind might not be so fine, but my bones are fine!!"

Doctors recommend excercise, eating healthy, and staying away from cigarettes.
While all that helps, unfortunately, the disease is mostly genetic.

Joyce Vanbelkum walks everyday, but still devloped osteoporosis about 14 years ago and she's fallen a few times since.
"I've had two falls which is very sobering, I avoid hazardous activities, like walking the dog, I choose not to do that, cause I've fallen two times..."

Fortunately she didn't break any bones.
Doctors call it a silent disease, because there often no symptoms, until a patient breaks a bone.

Sometimes its so bad people can break their backs by sneezing, by turning in bed.

Fracture is ultimate problem with osteoporosis, unfortunately by the time a fracture happens, they've lost 30-40% of their bone mass.

So what causes osteoporosis?
Gender. Women get osteoporosis more often than men. People who are older and have a small body frame are at a greater risk, but the biggest thing is family history.

Doctors say the best thing is to do a bone density test next time you see your family doctor and find out if you have it.
And then they can develop a plan to keep it from progressing.

For more health related news head over to and click on the health tab.