World Osteoporosis Day
Tomorrow is a day of global importance as it marks World Osteoporosis Day. The significance lies in the troubling statistics: one in three women and one in five men aged 50 and older will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. The root of this issue is osteoporosis, a condition that renders bones brittle and fragile, causing them to break from seemingly minor incidents like a stumble, a bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement. These fractures, stemming from osteoporosis, have serious consequences, including life-threatening outcomes and enduring pain and disability.
Preventing Osteoporosis and Fractures
Preventing osteoporosis and its associated fractures is possible, but it requires early action. These fractures have a far-reaching impact on people globally, placing significant socio-economic burdens on society and healthcare systems. Despite the presence of effective medical treatments to reduce fractures, only a minority of individuals, both men and women, receive the necessary care.
In fact, only 20% of individuals with osteoporotic fractures are accurately diagnosed and treated for the underlying disease, osteoporosis. An alarming example from 2010 in Europe underscores this concern when 12.3 million individuals at high risk for osteoporotic fractures remained untreated.
Taking Action for Prevention
So, what can you do to protect your bone health and reduce the risk of fractures?
- Exercise: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to keep your bones and muscles active. Focus on weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening, and balance-enhancing exercises.
- Nutrition: Maintain a diet rich in bone-healthy nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Safe exposure to sunlight can help ensure adequate vitamin D levels.
- Risk Factors: Identify and discuss any risk factors you may have with your healthcare provider. Pay special attention if you’ve had prior fractures, have a family history of osteoporosis, or are taking medications that impact bone health.
- Testing & Treatment: Get tested and seek treatment if necessary. If you fall into the high-risk category, you’ll likely require medication and lifestyle adjustments to protect yourself against fractures.
Osteoporosis Risk Check
Discover if you have common risk factors by using the Osteoporosis Risk Check at https://riskcheck.osteoporosis.foundation/.
If you’re over 50 and have one or more risk factors, it’s advisable to discuss these with your physician and request an evaluation of your bone health status. Lifestyle changes may be recommended, and for those at high risk, medication may be prescribed to offer optimal protection against fractures. Your proactive steps can make a significant difference in preventing the devastating consequences of osteoporosis.
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