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. Worldwide, millions of people at high risk of broken bones (fractures) remain unaware of the underlying silent disease. The huge human and socioeconomic cost, and severe impact of fractures on patients' independence, is underestimated.
This is why the 2022 campaign for World Osteoporosis Day will urge the public and patients to 'step up for bone health' by taking regular exercise, eating a bone-healthy diet and changing lifestyle habits.
Move your bones
• Bones, like muscles, get stronger when you use them. Exercise helps build bone in children and teens as they grow, and helps maintain bone in adults.
• At any age, the best types of exercises for bone health are weight-bearing and muscle strengthening. Lift, push, run, jump, and 'step' your way up to stronger bones!
• Overall, most people should aim to exercise for 30 to 40 minutes three to four times each week, with weight-bearing and resistance exercises in the program.
• People with osteoporosis benefit from a targeted exercise plan which also includes exercises to improve balance and posture. Exercise should be tailored to your situation and abilities.
• Targeted exercise plays a crucial role in rehabilitation post-fracture, helping to reduce pain, improve physical function, and improve quality of life; Physiotherapists can give expert advice and develop tailored exercise regimens post-fracture.
Ensure a bone-healthy diet
• Eat well! A bone-healthy diet is a balanced diet with adequate intake of calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin K and other nutrients.
• Nutritional needs change with age. For example, young people who are still growing and women after menopause need higher calcium intake.
• For most people, a balanced diet provides all the nutrients needed. However, people who cannot get enough calcium from their diets, or vitamin D from exposure to the sun, may need supplements for optimal bone health.
Avoid bone-damaging habits
• Smoking and excessive alcohol intake are risk factors for osteoporosis.
• Maintaining a healthy body weight is important - and being underweight with a BMI below 19 is a key risk factor.
Know your risk
• Be aware of any potential risk factors – take the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check. If you have risk factors, talk to your doctor, and ask for testing and treatment if needed. Visit: https://riskcheck.osteoporosis.foundation
Prevent recurrent fractures
• If you've broken a bone after age 50 following a minor fall, see your doctor and ask for assessment and treatment to prevent further fractures.
• Fracture Liaison Services are available in many hospitals. These coordinator-based multidisciplinary services help ensure that fracture patients receive the necessary treatment and follow-up care to prevent further fractures.
• Falls prevention assessment, and fall-proofing your home environment, are important.
Associate Professor Kassim Javaid, University Lecturer in Metabolic Bone Disease, said “We know that most people do not know they have osteoporosis. Their bones get weaker and weaker over time so after a minor stumble, they break yet another bone. We now have powerful treatments that can make a real difference to patients bone health and significantly improve their independence by reducing the risk of breaking bones. Working with a great team of national and international colleagues, our work at NDORMS is focused on providing the evidence to build health services so all adults aged 50 years and over who break a bone after a minor injury, get the right bone health assessment and treatment to protect their health and independence.”
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.