Osteoporosis is a 'silent disease' characterized by low bone mass. The bones of the hip, spine and wrist become so fragile and weak that a sudden fall or twist can result in a fracture. Although the disease can occur in anyone and at any age, it is more common in older women. Statistics reveal that 'osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide - approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90'.
According to IOF data, globally, an osteoporotic fracture is estimated to occur every 3 seconds and a vertebral fracture occurs every 22 seconds.
Women who are near or past menopause are more likely to experience another fracture if they have sustained a fracture earlier. Unfortunately, many people and even doctors do not pay attention to the link between a fracture and osteoporosis. Many women who sustain a fragility fracture are not appropriately diagnosed and treated for probable osteoporosis. Says
Prof. Bess Dawson-Hughes, General Secretary of IOF and Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, "Half of all individuals who go on to suffer a hip fracture have already come to clinical attention because of a prior fragility fracture. It is obvious that health professionals are missing a clear warning signal. All too often the broken bone is simply 'repaired' and the patient is sent home without proper diagnosis and management of the underlying cause of the fracture."
In their guide to Preventing Future Fractures, the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, has listed some strategies to reduce the risk of fractures pertaining to osteoporosis. These include -
• Taking medication for osteoporosis after consulting your doctor.
• Following a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and maintaining an adequate daily intake of protein.
• Monitoring your sodium intake.
• Getting plenty of exercise to help you build and maintain bone density and to enhance your balance, flexibility, and strength to reduce your chance of falling.
• Avoiding bending from the waist especially when lifting (bend from hips and knees).
• Paying attention to proper posture (not slouching when standing or walking).
• Not wearing shoes with slippery soles.
• Using hip protectors to decrease the risk of hip fracture if you are at high risk for falls.
This year's campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of secondary
and the three key messages to be conveyed are -
• Fractures of hip, spine, wrist, shoulder and pelvis or the fragility fractures are no accident; osteoporosis may be the cause.
• People who had suffered an osteoporotic fracture are twice likely to suffer from another fracture in the future if their osteoporosis is not diagnosed and treated.
• People who are 50 years of age or more and have had a fracture must get a bone mineral density test done and, if possible, get fracture risk assessment done. One in three women (and 1 in 5 men) over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures.
Indians have a low bone mineral density as compared with the West. In India, the number of osteoporosis patients is estimated to go up to 36 million by 2013 and when the lower bone density poses a greater risk of fracture, the figure can increase to more than 50 million.
Events and campaigns take place globally to raise awareness on osteoporosis - 'Walk for your Bones' and check up camps to name a few.
October 2012, under the banner 'Love your Bones', the Indian Society for Bone & Mineral Research, New Delhi, is organizing an
'Osteoporosis Awareness Walk' with tips on fitness by Dr. Namita Agarwal and a talk entitled 'Make your First Break Your Last' by eminent endocrinologist Dr. Ambrish Mithal.
Various other organizations all over India are also organizing events and check up camps on this day and through the week.
Join the walks and participate in the events to make your first fracture your last one. Walk for your bones!