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.
Those that smoke or drink in excess of the recommended daily alcohol intake are at greater risk, but gender, genetics, age, race and low body weight are all contributing factors.
What Can You Do About It?
Fortunately, 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 osteopath (that’s where I come in!) 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 website.