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Actress Sally Field Vows to Fight Against Osteoporosis

When actress Sally Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2005, it was a disappointing development.

'I had always eaten right, I had always exercised, and I had always taken calcium,' Field said last Thursday in Washington, D.C. 'I tried to be a good girl all the way down the line, but it was going to get me.'

Field was in town to talk to legislators at a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Society for Womens Health Research and the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The event took place during National Womens Health Week and National Osteoporosis Month, encouraging women to protect their bone health at all ages.

'Eighty percent of the 10 million Americans affected by osteoporosis are women,' said Phyllis Greenberger, president and CEO of the Society for Womens Health Research. 'An additional 34 million Americans are at risk for this disease and, as our population ages, osteoporosis will only become a greater public health threat.'

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become extremely porous, are subject to fracture, and heal slowly. It is about more than broken bones and hunchbacked old ladies. It can cost you your life.

'A hip fracture can kill you,' said Ethel Siris, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. 'There is a 20 percent increased mortality in the year after a hip facture.'

For individuals who survive a hip fracture, their quality of life will likely never be the same.

'Most people, at least 50 percent, will need a cane or walker for the rest of their life,' said Laura Tosi, M.D., a Society for Womens Health Research board member.

Fortunately for Field, her doctor had been monitoring her bone health for several years leading up to her diagnosis because she was at heightened risk for osteoporosis. Field received a bone density test to establish a baseline and then follow up tests in later years to determine her rate o
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