Kristi, Age 35

I’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.

I was athletically involved in different types of sports during my whole adolescence, and my parents made sure we always ate very healthy meals. As far back as I can recall, I don’t remember ever hearing or being taught about the importance of taking care of my bones . . . but wow, was it important to brush your teeth!

My mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis eight years ago at the age of 64. She fell and crushed her kneecap while walking across a parking lot. Unfortunately, at that time, my mom did not get the best treatment or education about this debilitating bone disease. She was not put on osteoporosis medications, but only told by her physician that she just needed to get more calcium in her diet. She also was not screened for osteoporosis.

Five years later, my parents were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary with all seven of us kids, grandchildren,and great grandchildren. My mom went home that night and while getting ready for bed, she turned to reach up for her nightgown, heard a loud crack, and then fell to the floor. Unfortunately, the whole group was together again, only it was the hospital this time. Mom broke her hip and cracked her femur bone in two places. She did recover quite well with much hard work and devotion, which I couldn’t imagine her not doing after bearing seven children.

To this day I choose to follow a healthy lifestyle. I eat healthy food, take multivitamins and calcium, exercise at least three times a week, don’t smoke, and drink socially on occasion. But most important, I educate myself about this disease. I will never leave it up to someone else to give me enough information so that I can lead the healthiest life possible. I will always care about my teeth, but it is the bone that gives my teeth a place to shine.