Sally Field Osteoporosis

Sally Field always considered herself a dynamic woman - an image often reflected in her award-winning film roles. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to claim that Sally became a signature actress for equally strong women.

But in her 60th birthday, Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis - a serious bone-thinning disorder that dramatically affects the risk of bone fractures. It is best known as the "silent disease" because you can't have symptoms until you experience a fracture.

"I always knew I fit the risk profile. I was thin, small boned, Caucasian, and heading towards age 60. But I was amazed at how quickly a woman could go from being at risk to having full-fledged osteoporosis," Field was quoted as saying.

On the other hand, Sally remained an active sports enthusiast. In her own words: "Hiking, biking, and doing extreme yoga on a regular basis". Sadly, on the inside, a bone scan revealed her hips and spine had begun thinning.

"My bones appeared to be getting steadily thinner without any signs or symptoms I could see or feel," Field claims.

It has to be noted that Field states taking HRT helped her bones as well. It was when she stopped that she tells her bone problems really took hold.

"When I completely went off HRT, my bone density took a really big dive and my doctor noticed it," declares Field.

Since tests showed she was also low on vitamin D - necessary to utilize calcium - her doctors also suggested vitamin D supplements. While Field was hopeful they would help, those hopes were soon dashed.

"Eight months later, we tested again - and the bone mass went down even more significantly," Field told.

It was then that her doctor revealed her she had developed osteoporosis.

"It was the full-fledged condition. No longer just a risk, it happened," reveals Field.

Field decided to take a responsible proactive stance. So, she was determined to know all about osteoporosis and of course to do whatever it took to stop it from affecting her life.

After talking with her doctor Sally chose to treat her osteoporosis with the new once-monthly medication Boniva,  a drug that works to slow bone loss, so the body's natural bone production can pull ahead.

Later, when approached by the makers of Boniva to raise an awareness campaign about osteoporosis, she gladly took the opportunity.

"At first I was nervous. I thought, this is a big pill - and I worried something bad would happen," admits Field. Indeed, side effects to Boniva are: stomach upset, muscle pain, even ulcers.

Today Field states she's happy and relieved to be well on her way back to good bone health. She also claims this is not a journey she wants to take alone.

"Aging successfully isn't just about looking good, it's about having a good solid feeling about your health and yourself as a healthy person," reveals Field, who is asking women to take action by talking to their doctors and joining her in a commitment to better bone health.

"My doctor took my family history and health profile and realized that osteoporosis was a potential threat - not only because I am small and thin and Caucasian and was (at the time) heading into 50 - but because I had a history of osteoporosis on both sides of my family. So he started giving me bone-density tests in my early 50s. I had always done the "good things": exercised, eaten right, taken my calcium, never smoked. But because it was in my genetic code, I was probably going to get osteoporosis" Field says.

"In my mid-50s, I started to get osteopenia (which shows decreased bone-mineral density), the stage right before osteoporosis. In 2005, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis" Sally adds.

Sally reveals she was aware of a history of osteoporosis in her family, and in 2005, after years of regular bone density tests, she was diagnosed with the bone disease in her hip and spine. "The good news about osteoporosis is that it is very treatable," Sally claims. "But it is silent and you don't know it is there unless you are really getting bone density tests and you have either someone looking out for you, like a really good doctor, or you know enough to look out for yourself".

"I don't want to be sick because of my own laziness," Sally was quoted as saying. "If I am going to be sick (it's) because God said that is what is going to happen to me (and) then I will deal with it. But I don't want to feel that terrible regret you must feel that you could've prevented it."

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