Alec Tinker Osteopath in Yorkshire – Back pain, Rehabilitation, Sports Injuries

Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month – May 2015

It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the usually strong supportive inner bone becomes thin, 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.osteoporosis

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.

However, 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.

Prevention advice

Once you have been identified as being at risk of developing osteoporosis or sustaining a fracture, there is a lot you can do to reduce the chance of breaking a bone. If you are at risk of osteoporosis you should eat a balanced diet to provide all the essential vitamins (including vitamin D), minerals (including calcium) and nutrients that the bones need. You should avoid prolonged bed rest and to take up gentle weight-bearing exercises such as gym, dancing, housework and shopping, though I advise caution with vigorous, high impact exercises. Reducing the trip hazards at home and improving balance through Tai Chi or specific balance exercises can be useful to help reduce the risk of falling. Finally as smoking has a toxic effect on the cells that help build bone, stopping smoking would definitely be a good move, as would ensuring that alcohol intake is limited and in moderation.

All these factors can reduce the impact of the condition and reduces the likelihood of a fracture. If you think you may have osteoporosis then do go see your GP.

To find out more about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Society website at: www.nos.org.uk

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