Osteoporosis is a disease in which the skeleton becomes weak and fragile – and as a result bones are in danger of breaking easily. Because bone loss is gradual and painless, there are usually no symptoms to indicate a person is developing osteoporosis and is often referred to as a ‘silent disease’. A person with osteoporosis may suffer a broken bone after only a minor bump, a sneeze, or a fall from standing height.
Who does Osteoporosis affect?
Osteoporosis affects both men and women usually over 50 years of age. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures are reported to occur every 3 seconds. Sadly, in women over 45 years of age osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer.
If Osteoporosis affects people over 50 I don’t need to worry do I?
Even though age is a ‘non-modifiable’ factor that is strongly linked with the development of Osteoporosis the earlier on in your life you take ‘healthy bone action’, the better your chance of reducing the risk or even preventing the disease.
If I have Osteoporosis will my children get it?
Throughout life our bone mass is being lost and replaced all the time, but as we age the amount of bone lost isn’t fully replaced by new bone. Following a bone-healthy lifestyle before the age of 20 can help a young person stock up, or ‘bank’, more bone and lower the risk of Osteoporosis developing when they are older.
Can I prevent Osteoporosis?
The overall risk of osteoporosis is influenced by age, gender and ethnicity. Some risk factors are classified as ‘non-modifiable’, meaning they can’t be changed; these are family history, previous fractures, menopause, certain medications and other medical diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. You can however lower your risk if you only have ‘modifiable’ factors which are things you can change, such as: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, low body mass index, poor nutrition and insufficient exercise.
I already have Osteoporosis; how can I lower my risk of breaking a bone?
Strong bones, together with strong muscles, will help you enjoy an active, mobile and independent future. A first step is to ensure a bone-healthy lifestyle which includes diet, exercise and appropriate medication. Taking regular weight-bearing, muscle strengthening and proprioceptive exercise will significantly reduce your risk of falling or loosing balance making you less likely to break a bone.
I have some risk factors mentioned above, how do I check if I have Osteoporosis?
You can complete the IOF One-Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test here which will alert you to any risk factors you may have. If you are over the age of 50 years and you have one or more risk factors you should discuss these with your doctor and ask for assessment.
If your risk factors are ‘modifiable’ then book into see one of our health professionals today and write “OSTEOPOROSIS” to get advice on lifestyle changes and start an individually tailored exercise plan that we will be able to monitor and progress as your fitness level improves. Online bookings are available here.
At Wolli Creek Physiotherapy & Pilates, you’ll be looked after by highly experienced and passionate young physiotherapists with a range of specialist skills and qualifications. We treat and heal all injuries and pain problems, for all kinds of people.