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Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month Break in Transcript

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Congresswoman, Mrs. Capps. She is an extraordinary advocate for health care, not only for women, but for families, men, everyone in this country, to make it a healthier country to live in. And I am so grateful for her, for her friendship and for the remarkable mark she has made on this Congress and on this country.

I rise in strong support of House Resolution 265 and ask for its immediate passage.

Mr. Speaker, May was National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. Osteoporosis and low bone density affect 44 million Americans over the age of 50. It is a disease in which the bones become more fragile and prone to breaking. Many of those affected are unaware they have osteoporosis and therefore, they are unable to take steps to prevent it.

Like many Americans, I had no idea I was at risk for developing osteoporosis. I thought I simply had bad posture. And it never occurred to me to be screened for osteoporosis. Yet, when I was running for Congress in 1998, I was diagnosed with this disease. Fortunately, within 10 months of the diagnosis, with proper treatment, I was able to stop my bone loss and my bones actually began to strengthen again.

My bill will help raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of this increasingly common disease and encourage those at risk to have a quick and painless bone density test.

While more Americans than ever before have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and are receiving treatment, much more remains to be done to raise awareness about the importance of healthy bones.

Often called the silent disease because it goes undetected in many Americans until they actually break a bone, osteoporosis affects more than 10 million individuals and an estimated 34 million men and women. And yes, Mr. Speaker, men are susceptible to osteoporosis too. They suffer from osteoporosis and have low bone mass which places them at an increased risk for developing this condition.

As of 2003, there were an estimated 3.6 million people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. In my home State of Nevada, over 300,000 men and women suffer from osteoporosis and low bone mass. One in two women, and one in four men age 50 and older will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime.

The consequences of osteoporosis are devastating and very painful. Hip fractures, which occur about twice as often in women as men, are more serious than people realize. Approximately 20 percent of the hip fracture patients over the age of 70 will die in a year after that fracture, usually from complications such as pneumonia or blood clots in the lungs.

Prevention, diagnosis and treatment are the keys to tackling osteoporosis and as a Nation, we must teach people of all ages how to take the necessary steps to keep their bones healthy and strong for a lifetime.

Those at risk who have not yet been tested for osteoporosis need to make an appointment with their physician to have a bone density test. The exams are quick and they are painless and they can be done in conjunction with a regular checkup.

Because of my personal experience with osteoporosis, I am committed to ensuring that my fellow Americans are aware of the importance of early detection and prevention. Men and women can reduce their chances of developing this disease. I encourage everyone to see their doctor and get screened for osteoporosis. It is very silent, but it is a deadly disease.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution that will increase awareness of this disease. I thank my colleague and dear friend, Mrs. Capps, for working with me to ensure that this resolution becomes a reality. Thank you very much.


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