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In part she blames herself for not demanding to get bone scans after she reached fifty.

"It’s our own responsibility and we’ve got to know," she said.

She has since found out that her mother also had osteoporosis.

Though the news literally laid her flat on her back with little energy, Tomalty has taken her disease by the horns, determined not to let it beat her.

She began a weight training program. She started to power walk every day, really pushing herself to walk harder. She started taking the right medications to build up her bones as well as a regime of vitamins. She did all the things the doctors told her she must do with gusto.

And after a year she has made improvements and the doctors are pleased with her results.

So is she. But she can’t help thinking it could have all been avoided if it had been detected earlier.

Researchers are still trying to understand why people like Tomalty and Montgomery get the disease while other don’t.

What they do know however is that the more risk factors a person has, the greater their risk of developing osteoporosis.

This is why Tomalty is on a crusade to get people educated about the disease; she doesn’t want others to get caught off guard the way she was.

Now she insists that all women over 50 get a bone density scan, updating that scan every five years after.

The scans are known as Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests, which can detect low bone density and predict the risk of fracture.

"It’s a dirty disease," she said with the conviction of someone who is suffering through the pain.

"It’s a really rotten disease and you have to keep on it. You don’t want to go through it at the end of your life."

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