Osteoporosis – the silent epidemic
10:01am Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
TODAY, women are living longer and as we get older our bones get weaker. Osteoporosis affects around one in three post-menopausal women and fracture following trauma is often the only indication of an underlying problem.
This is why it is often called 'the silent disease.'
Victims may suffer from deformity, pain, loss of independence and premature death. Three in 10 women who suffer an osteoporotic hip fracture die within 12 months as a result.
Risk factors include; being post menopausal, early menopause or hysterectomy, family history, use of steroid based medications, dietary factors such as coeliac disease and colitis, low calcium diet, alcohol consumption, rheumatoid arthritis and other medical conditions, low body mass and lack of exercise.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent the development of the disease, as well as treatment for those who already have it.
Following the STAIRs approach as in the following is a good guide:
* Stop smoking
* Take exercise, especially weight bearing activity such as dancing, jogging, brisk walking, skipping, trampolining, badminton, pilates or training with weights.
* Allow exposure to some sunshine (before 11am and after 3pm) between May and September to stimulate Vitamin D production.
* Improve diet by increasing those foods high in vitamins and minerals, especially fruit and vegetables, together with moderate amounts of protein. Avoid processed or sugary foods and drinks.
* Restrict caffeine and salt and limit alcohol to two units per day.
For those diagnosed with osteoporosis, several prescriptions and supplements now on the market have been shown to be effective in slowing down the bone-loss process and in strengthening the bone that still remains.
Scans for risk of osteoporosis will be available on Thursday, September 19, at Barry Town Council Offices from 9am-1pm. Scans for risk of fracture in postmenopausal women are not always readily available on the NHS but you can now have a non-invasive scan for £22. For further information and to book an appointment please call Healthcare Screening on 0845 224 6784.