Few people in the UK really understand what osteoporosis is. Even fewer understand the impact it has on real lives. So, this Sunday 20 October is World Osteoporosis Day where everyone is being urged to work together to raise awareness among our society and reduce the number of people whose days are destroyed by this debilitating condition.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them weaker than normal and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a minor fall or sudden impact (bang) causes a bone fracture (broken bone).
You can tune in to Radio 4 this World Osteoporosis Day to hear how Christine’s life has been heavily impacted by broken bones and osteoporosis. Christine first broke a bone in her back when she was 55.
Over the last 20 years, she has broken many more – often as a result of a simple activity like getting dressed or turning over in bed.
Although Christine lives in constant pain and is terrified that she may break another bone at any moment, she is determined to stop anyone else going down the same horrific path that she has. You can watch a special video about Christine’s experiences on Youtube.
Osteoporosis affects over three million people in the UK and every year more than 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fractures due to weak bones that occur following minor falls every year, as a result of osteoporosis.
Those most at risk of osteoporosis are women, particularly if they start the menopause (change) before the age of 45. Other factors which can put people at greater risk of developing this disease include medical conditions such as arthritis, a family history of osteoporosis, long-term use of certain medications which can affect bone strength or hormone levels as well as heavy drinking or smoking.
If people are concerned that they might be at high risk, they are advised to see their GP who will advise them and do tests if necessary. Treatment will depend on each person’s
risk of breaking a bone in the future and GPs can suggest the safest and most effective treatment plan.
For more information visit the Royal Osteoporosis Society website.