World Osteoporosis DayPosted on: 20/10/2023
With it being World Osteoporosis Day, we wanted to shine a light on the condition that affects an estimated 3 million people in the UK. There are more than 300,000 fractures every year due to osteoporosis. Often referred to as ‘The silent disease’, most people don’t know they are living with the condition until they break a bone.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” It is a progressive condition that leads to more fragile bones as you get older. Fragile bones are more likely to break easily, and bones in your wrist, hip, and spine are particularly vulnerable.
However, breaks can also occur in other bones too, including in the arms and the pelvis. In some cases, a cough or a sneeze is enough to cause a broken rib or partial collapse of one of the bones in the spine.
Osteoporosis is often not painful until a fracture occurs.
What are the causes of osteoporosis?
Although losing bone is a natural part of aging, some people are more prone to losing density faster than normal, leading to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fracture injuries.
It has been found that women are more at risk of osteoporosis than men. Women are more likely to lose bone rapidly in the first few years after menopause. The risk increases if a woman starts the menopause before 45 or if she has her ovaries removed.
Women are not the only people that are affected by osteoporosis; men and children can also be affected.
Factors which can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis include:
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Long-term use of certain medicines that can affect bone strength or hormone levels, such as anti-estrogen tablets that many women take after breast cancer
- Having or having had an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia
- Not exercising regularly
- Drinking too much and smoking
How can it be treated?
Treating osteoporosis involves treating and preventing fractures, and using medicines to strengthen bones.
The decision about what treatment you need, if any, is based on a number of other factors including your:
- Risk of breaking a bone
- Previous injury history
If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis because you've had a broken bone, you should still receive treatment to try to reduce your risk of further broken bones.
If you don’t need or want to take medicine to treat osteoporosis, it is recommended that you ensure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. This will be achieved either through your diet or by taking supplements.
Between late March/early April and the end of September, sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D and therefore helps your body to absorb calcium. In turn, this will help to strengthen your bones and your teeth.
Living well with osteoporosis
To avoid fractures, people with osteoporosis are advised to take measures to prevent potential falls.
There are several things you can do to avoid the likelihood of falling, including:
- Checking your home for any potential hazards, such as trailing wires. Also ensure that rugs and carpets are fully secure, as well as keeping rubber mats by the sink and in the bath to prevent slipping
- Having regular sight tests and hearing tests, as untreated problems with vision and/or hearing can often cause falls
- Wearing well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle
- Keeping well hydrated, as dehydration is known to cause falls
- Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Doing regular strength exercises and balance exercises can improve your strength and balance, and reduce your risk of having a fall
Progress Lifeline’s personal alarms can provide peace of mind and assistance if you are worried about, or at risk of, falling.
To find out more, click here or telephone our team on 03333 204 999.