Osteoporosis – think you don’t need to worry about it? Think again.
One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture as a result of weak bones. It is one of the most common, and most debilitating, chronic diseases that affects us.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease which affects bone density. Bone loss occurs due to a variety of reasons, and results in bones becoming porous and fragile, with an increased risk of fracture. There are often no symptoms – the bone loss is gradual and painless – until a fracture occurs, so it’s hard to detect until it’s too late.
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk of osteoporosis, but some more than others. While some people suffer earlier in life, most people who suffer are affected after the age of 40. Throughout our lives, bone tissue is lost and replaced on a daily basis, but after the age of 40 our bodies are no longer able to replace lost bone tissue as quickly as it is lost.
Women are also more at risk than men, because the loss of bone tissue increases further after the menopause, when oestrogen production stops.
People are also more at risk who drink a lot of alcohol, smoke, have poor nutrition, have an eating disorder or have low calcium and vitamin D intake.
What can we do to prevent getting weak bones?
The fight against osteoporosis should start now, whatever age you are. It is essential to take preventative steps as early as possible, to build strong and healthy bones, so that when bone mass starts to deteriorate later in life, bones are already as strong as possible and therefore less likely to become brittle and at risk of fracture.
Include calcium and vitamin D in your daily diet with food (dairy produce) and supplement intake
Eat a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables
Do regular weight-bearing exercise such as running or using weights as part of your gym routine
Drink alcohol in moderation
20 October 2017 is World Osteoporosis Day.