National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month 2023
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by low bone density. People with low bone density stand a greater chance of fracturing their bones. The elderly and frail are at greater risk from falls which can lead to bone fracture.
The aim of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month is to promote good bone health through the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis.
Through Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, people are encouraged to understand the risk factors associated with this condition. Preventative measures which promote healthy bones include sufficient calcium intake, achieving adequate levels of vitamin D, and performing bone healthy exercises.
Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men; approximately 80% of osteoporosis cases are in women. Women are often the main focus of these awareness campaigns as are people with a family history of osteoporosis.
Teenage girls are encouraged to build strong bones whilst they are still developing. The consequences of weak bones later in life can be serious. Building strong bones during this crucial development stage includes eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D, eating fruits and vegetables every day, and regular exercise.
During early to mid adult life (20's, 30's and 40's), women are encouraged to learn about preventing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis awareness campaigns also target people with osteoporosis, who are encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers about maintaining and increasing bone density. Advice is also given on fall prevention, nutrition and exercise.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Low body weight, low estrogen levels, an irregular menstrual cycle, inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking alcohol, are all risk factors of osteoporosis. Good bone health can be achieved by eliminating these factors.
Post menopausal women, typically 50 years +, have lower levels of estrogen as their ovaries have stopped producing this hormone. Low estrogen levels are associated with bone loss. Healthcare providers can provide bone density tests. If you have a family history of osteoporosis it is important to ask for this test at this stage of your life.
About 20% of osteoporosis cases affect men. Despite women being 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis, the number of cases in men is still high.
Osteoporosis In Men
Men in their 50's+ are more likely to develop osteoporosis than be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Much of the advice for men is similar to that for women; eat well, move more and talk to a healthcare provider about whether a bone density test is a suitable option for you.
For more information on osteoporosis visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website.