What happens to a man who, at the age of 33, realizes that his life has been “irreversibly turned upside down”? Dan experienced chronic foot pain in 1988. None of the specialists he consulted could accurately diagnosis his osteoporosis – they suggested his problem may be due to arthritis or possibly psychosomatic illness.

Dan Martell participated in “Osteoporosis a Photographic Survey” by Oliviero Toscani and spoke at a media seminar in Rome Italy at the launch of the exhibit.          

The following year he fractured a vertebrae, and a bone density test revealed that he had lost 70% of his bone mass. Dan has had more operations than he can remember, including seven surgeries on his hips to implant various plates and screws. Steel rods have been inserted in both his femurs.

Dan, now 55, has fractured every vertebra in his back and fractures his ribs almost monthly. “My ribs or vertebra can fracture from simply coughing or sneezing” he says. In spite of his continuing fractures, Dan feels that “my fracture rate would be even higher without the medication that I’ve been prescribed”.

He has lost 23 cm in height, and is mostly confined to a wheelchair. “I can no longer play catch with my son, ride a bike with my daughter on walk on the beach with my wife,” he explains. He was forced to resign his job as maintenance supervisor for a major beverage production plant.

“Osteoporosis is not just a disease of the elderly,” he says. “It can be very debilitating and extremely painful”. Dan recommends that people talk to their physicians about the risks of osteoporosis and insist on a bone density test when it is indicated. In spite of the fact that Dan and his mother had osteoporosis, both of his sisters had to insist that their physicians give them a bone density test. “Both were found to have low bone density,” he notes, “and are taking medication so they don’t wind up like me”.

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