Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month – May 2015

 

It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the usually strong support struts that make up the inside of most bones becomes thinner, which can lead to bones becoming fragile and breaking easily, resulting in pain and disability.

In the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone, mainly due to poor bone health. But osteoporosis is often a silent condition, giving no pain or other symptoms to alert you to the fact until the worst happens and a bone breaks. As such, many people living with osteoporosis are unaware that they have fragile bones until this happens, sometimes with devastating consequences. Indeed an alarming new study published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation suggested that 37% of men that sustain an osteoporosis related hip fracture will die in the first year following the break.

Risk Factors

There are several factors generally accepted to be risk factors in osteoporosis and related fractures. These include:

Genetics – If one of your parents has a broken hip due to osteoporosis, you are more likely to do the same.

Age – Though bone loss can begin between the age of 20 – 40, bone loss increases later in life, so by the age of 75 half of us will have osteoporosis. In addition, as we get older our balance can deteriorate and we may be more likely to fall.

Gender – Due to the changes in oestrogen after the menopause, women are four times more likely to get primary osteoporosis than men. Men are four times more likely to get osteoporosis than prostate cancer.

Race – On the whole, the bones of people who are of black/Afro-Caribbean origin are bigger and stronger than those of Caucasian or Asian descent in the first instance, making Caucasians or Asians twice as likely to sustain a fracture.

Other factors include, low body weights, previous fracture, current smoking, Glucocorticoids (steroids) and excessive alcohol consumption.

 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a lot you can do to prevent the condition, and to reduce your chance of breaking a bone if you do get it. Your local osteopaths at froc can screen you for the condition using a special online screening tool called the FRAX questionnaire and can give you dietary, exercise and lifestyle advice to help manage your risk factors to reduce the impact of the condition on your lifestyle.

To find out more about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, contact the National Osteoporosis Society via their confidential helpline (0845 450 0230) or by visiting their website at: www.nos.org.uk