Osteoporosis means porous bones. Normal bones (picture on far left) are made up of minerals and proteins. Throughout life there is an ongoing process of replacement and repair of this structure. In most people a gradual demineralisation of bone occurs after the age of about 35. In osteoporotic bones (picture on near left), the normal process becomes accelerated and insufficient minerals, such as calcium and magnesium are laid down in the bone fabric, leading to weakness.
In mild cases it remains asymptomatic but as it becomes more serious it can lead to bone pain and fractures even with normal usage. These are the worrying facts of this increasing common disease:
The risk of fracture increases with age and Osteoporosis is now the most common bone disease affecting the western world
The condition affects 1 in 3 women,and 1 in 8 men over the age of 50
An estimated 12 million people in the UK suffer from Osteoporosis, with the spine, wrist and hip being the most at risk
It is known as ‘the silent epidemic’because sufferers do not know they have the condition until they experience a fracture
Every 3 minutes someone in the UK has a fracture due to Osteoporosis
Following a hip fracture 27% of patients die within 12 months and 50% are unable to walk properly
Men suffer too; some can lose up to 10 or 12 inches in height
It is costing the country over £750 million each year
By early next century there could be 5 million sufferers in Britain, unless we take action now
How do I know if I’m at Risk?
The Main Risk Factors are listed below; if any apply to you, it’s advisable to have the density of your bones checked.
Irregular or infrequent periods
Hysterectomy or early menopause
Lack of regular weight bearing exercise
Extreme exercise when young
Caucasian or Asian ethnicity
History of anorexia
Diet, low in calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins C & D