Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

On World Osteoporosis Day, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the world’s largest non-governmental organisation in the bone field, urges action for osteoporosis and fracture prevention.

Nutrition to improve bone health

Osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become weak and fragile, is a silent disease that at the best of times often remains undiagnosed and untreated. Now, many experts are concerned that the global pandemic has had a negative impact on bone health and osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many older adults, those most susceptible to osteoporosis, have lived an increasingly indoor, sedentary lifestyle. This means that they may have not been getting enough exercise, or vitamin D - which together with calcium and other healthy nutrients, is needed for good bone health.

Cyrus Cooper, Professor of Musculoskeletal Science at NDORMS and IOF President states: "Now is the time to make bone health and osteoporosis prevention a health care priority. Broken bones due to osteoporosis affect one in three women and one in five men aged 50 years and over worldwide. Osteoporotic fractures are a major cause of pain, disability, and loss of independence in older adults. Hip and spinal fractures are among the most debilitating and life-threatening, especially for older adults."

"With attention to bone health, and early diagnosis and appropriate treatment for those at risk, such life-changing injuries can be prevented."

Five ways to take direct action for bone health:

  • Keep exercising: during the pandemic, people have been more sedentary, especially if confined to their homes for extended periods of time. Regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises help maintain bone and muscle mass, keeping you stronger, mobile, and less likely to fall and fracture.
  • Get enough vitamin D and follow a bone-healthy, calcium-rich diet: together with calcium, protein, and other nutrients, vitamin D supports bone and muscle health. If you've been staying indoors with little exposure to sunlight, you may be vitamin D deficient. Ask your doctor whether supplementation may be required.
  • Ask for a bone health assessment if you have osteoporosis risk factors: during the pandemic, fewer risk assessments have been carried out and many who should be tested have not been able to access a bone density scan. Start by alerting yourself to key risk factors by taking the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check. If at risk, reach out to your doctor and insist on a fracture risk assessment or a DXA scan should it be recommended.
  • Take prescribed osteoporosis treatments: anyone who has been prescribed treatment should ensure they continue their medication as prescribed. Be aware that some treatments should not be delayed and be sure to contact your doctor for prescription refills or to organise injections if needed.
  • Make falls prevention a priority: ask for help to ensure a safe home environment. Among other fall safety measures, remove tripping hazards, and install handrails in the bath and good lighting along stairways. Wear shoes with slip-proof soles.

Professor Cooper warns: "It is critically important that anyone aged over 50 who has broken a bone after a minor fall request testing and management of osteoporosis. Timely post-fracture care, when possible through a fracture liaison service in your local hospital, is the key to preventing further potentially debilitating fractures in the future.

NDORMS collaborates with the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), in support of its Capture the Fracture programme. Together with Amgen, and UCB, the goal is to reduce hip and vertebral fractures by 25% by 2025.

Original story shared by the International Osteoporosis Foundation for World Osteoporosis Day.

Similar stories

The new Botnar strategy is announced

After a year as the Director of the Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences, Professor Jonathan Rees announces a new structure and strategy that will further enhance research and treatment of bone, joint and musculoskeletal conditions.

New global health grant to improve outcomes for patients with hip fracture

Hip fracture patients in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) in Asia are set to benefit from a new study that aims to bring best practice programmes to improve quality of life for patients and reduce healthcare costs.

NDORMS welcomes great-granddaughter of former Head of Department

Julia Strubell, great-granddaughter of Professor Josep Trueta, visited NDORMS to find out about his time here and to share her own work with staff and students.

Botnar researchers awarded Fellowships

Arani Vivekanantham has been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Fellowship and a Versus Arthritis Clinical Research Fellowship, and Rachel Kuo was awarded an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship.

Better diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases moves a step closer

A study published in Nature outlines a way to find the crucial peptides (protein fragments) that drive autoimmunity, as well as the immune cells that respond to them.

New drug offers hope for people with hand osteoarthritis

A new study, published in Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the University of Oxford has identified that Talarozole, a drug that is known to increase retinoic acid, was able to prevent osteoarthritis (OA) in disease models.