Osteoporosis, commonly called “thinning of the bones”, is a condition where the bones demineralise faster than new cells are laid down, resulting in weaker bones which eventually may break/fracture.
Post-menopausal women are undoubtedly the biggest risk group but men are also at risk, with one in five men developing osteoporosis after the age of 60. It is estimated that 1.2 million Australians are affected by osteoporosis but there may be many more who don’t know they have it until they break a bone and while this could be an inconvenience, it could also be a disaster if the break is a hip fracture.
What to do?
Regular exercise is a great way to strengthen your bones, 20 minutes of weightbearing exercise such as walking or dancing 4-5 times/ week is a good start. Workouts with weights have also been shown to increase bone density. It is never too late to start!
Minimise risk factors such as smoking and excessive drinking and try to include dairy (for calcium), meat and eggs(for Vit K) salmon (Vit D) as part of your diet. A few minutes daily of sun exposure is also helpful.
If you have a family history of osteoporosis (perhaps a parent with a broken hip), take medications to treat prostate cancer, asthma or arthritis and are concerned about the state of your bones, your GP can refer you for a bone density scan.
Talk to your physiotherapist about how YOU can improve your bone health and keep your skeleton in tip top shape!!
For more information visit osteoporosis.org.au
Written our Senior Physiotherapist in Australind,