October 20 is World Osteoporosis Day and a time to remind us about maintaining good bone health, especially from Midlife.
Each day for the next 5 days I will be posting information and tips on
- how Osteoporosis is diagnosed,
- ways to maintain strong bones,
- foods that may help to prevent Osteoporosis
- why balance & strength training should be included in your exercise routine
Osteoporosis is a common disease in Australia with 1.2 million people estimated to have osteoporosis and further 6.3 million with low bone density.
What is Osteoporosis?
This is a disease which affects both men and women with the numbers affected increasing with age. An assessment by J A Kanis for the WHO (2007) estimated that more than 200 million women worldwide would be affected by the disease.
The body loses minerals, such as calcium,at a rate faster than the body can replace them. This causes a loss of bone thickness which is referred to as bone density or mass.
Bones become brittle which can lead to a higher risk of breaks and fractures that are normal. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘silent disease’ because there are no symptoms.
Why do we need to be concerned about Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis means the possibility of more breaks and fractures as we age. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women worldwide and 1 in 5 men will experience abnormal numbers of fractures.
As we age, bones become less dense and thinner. How often have you seen an elderly person break a hip from a fall? Even a minor bump can cause serious fractures which is a complete or partial break of the bone.
The disease usually is more common in the hip, spine and wrist.
In the next article we look at How Osteoporosis can be diagnosed.
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