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Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center will host a free seminar later this month to teach people about the risks and symptoms of a slow-growing bone disease.

“Osteoporosis — What About Mom and Dad?” is being held at 6 p.m. on June 18 in the Idaho Cancer Center. The seminar will be lead by Mike Parsons, nurse practitioner for the Spine Center at EIRMC.

Parsons said that the event on osteoporosis was chosen over other issues treated at the center because it was more common than many other conditions but less often discussed.

“It became apparent to me that osteoporosis was being underdiagnosed and undertreated in this area and nationally,” Parsons said.

Osteoporosis, literally meaning “porous bone,” is a disease caused by the gradual loss of bone density over time, increasing the risk of serious fractures. Nearly one in six adults will develop some form of osteoporosis at some point, with women being twice as likely to break a bone due to the disease.

The condition can affect the bone density anywhere within the body, but hip fractures are among the biggest risks associated with it. A 2009 study found that nearly 30 percent of adults who suffered a hip fracture died within a year of the injury.

One of Parsons’ major talking points for the seminar is the availability of early screening panels for low bone density, which are often covered by insurance and help to detect bones that could be injured by osteoporosis before anything happens.

“I don’t care where they get screened. We’re talking about people dying because they don’t get a simple X-ray,” Parsons said.

The seminar will also discuss treatment options for the disease, ranging from changes in diet and vitamin use to taking calcium pills that can prevent further injuries. Parsons will also answer specific questions from patients who attend the event.

To register, visit tinyurl.com/EIRMC-osteo.

Contact Brennen with news tips at 208-542-6711.

Kauffman reports on health care and city events for the Post Register.

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