World Osteoporosis Day is marked on 20th October. However, the work goes on all year round to raise awareness of what can ultimately be a disabling condition for the many people suffering from it. The awareness days are a way of helping to get the disease into the public consciousness and raising awareness of a disease that affects millions of people worldwide.
The awareness day first began in 1996 and was started by the National Osteoporosis Society, with support from the European Commission. Each year has a specific theme; the theme for 2013 is “postmenopausal women & their bone health.’
The aim of this year’s campaign is to explain why women are more vulnerable to the bone disease than men and it will also highlight the importance of being aware of bone health as well as offering advice on preventing fractures, which are an inevitable price of having a bone thinning disease.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
The symptoms of osteoporosis are not obvious and thinning of the bones can occur years before a person comes to realise that they have been affected by the disease. The first indication that someone has the condition is often when they suffer a fracture. Fractures of the hip, wrist and vertebras are all too common in osteoporosis.
If a patient is in an age group where they are more likely to be suffering from osteoporosis, then bone density tests should be carried out if they’ve had to go to the hospital for the treatment of a facture.
Treatment for osteoporosis tends to centre on treating the fractures caused by it and trying to prevent fractures. Medication might also be prescribed to help strengthen the bones. Patients might also be referred to a physiotherapist to help them to maintain balance and strength.
Prevention, as they say, is better than cure, and fortunately there are ways of helping to prevent osteoporosis. Taking simple steps such as drinking extra milk or taking calcium supplements can help keep the bones strong. If you choose to take calcium supplements, these should be taken along with vitamin D for better absorption; a dose of 1000mg of calcium a day will be enough. Also, if you are on medication, speak to your doctor before supplementing your diet.
Carrying out weight bearing exercise is another effective way of keeping your bones strong. Avoid too much caffeine and don’t drink too many soft drinks as they can help to leech calcium from your bones. Moreover, if you need another reason to give up smoking then here it is: smokers have a bigger chance of developing osteoporosis.
Although osteoporosis isn’t actually painful in itself, the resulting fractures can often lead people to develop painful joints. This could show itself as leg pain, lower back pain, etc. Studies show that osteopaths are in a good position to be able to help both prevent and evaluate the disease.
If you aren’t familiar with osteopathy, and how it can help to benefit your health, then contact Sophie Jones, the founder of Kennington Osteopathic Practice in Oxford. Sophie is happy to talk to patients new to osteopathy, and can help people to decide if they think osteopathy would be the right approach for them. Sophie can be contacted on [email protected] or visit the website at http://kenningtonosteo.co.uk/