Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month – May 2015
It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the usually strong support struts that make up the inside of most bones becomes thinner, which can lead to bones becoming fragile and breaking easily, resulting in pain and disability.
In the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone, mainly due to poor bone health. But osteoporosis is often a silent condition, giving no pain or other symptoms to alert you to the fact until the worst happens and a bone breaks. As such, many people living with osteoporosis are unaware that they have fragile bones until this happens, sometimes with devastating consequences. Indeed an alarming new study published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation suggested that 37% of men that sustain an osteoporosis related hip fracture will die in the first year following the break.
Those that smoke or drink in excess of the recommended daily alcohol intake are at greater risk, but gender, genetics, age, race and low body weight are all contributing factors.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a lot you can do to prevent the condition, and to reduce your chance of breaking a bone if you do get it. Your local osteopath can screen you for the condition using a special online screening tool called the FRAX questionnaire and can give you dietary, exercise and lifestyle advice to help manage your risk factors to reduce the impact of the condition on your lifestyle.
To find out more about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, contact the National Osteoporosis Society via their confidential helpline (0845 450 0230)
Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise are hugely important both in helping to prevent osteoporosis in the first place but also in helping to improve the situation once the condition has developed. In the under 25 age group, the amount of exercise and sunlight experienced has a very significant bearing on what their long term bone density is going to be for life, so it is never to early to start taking preventative measures. In the 50 plus age group it is important to develop a healthy way of eating, exercising and thinking, if this is not already in place, while health levels are sufficient to take these changes on board. Studies have shown that bone mineral density improves in a three month period of improving diet and incorporating even gentle exercise.
Osteopathy and Osteoporosis
If osteoporosis has already been diagnosed dietary changes and an appropriate programme of exercise combined with prescribed medication from your GP (as deemed necessary) and gentle osteopathic treatment can often help to reverse changes and improve quality of life. Osteopaths can help with joint and soft tissue mobility which will improve your ability to exercise. Treatment around the neck, jaw and cranial bones can often improve balance and also the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck, which play a part in calcium management in bone. Improving motion in the musculo-skeletal system and associated viscera, plays an important role in improving circulation and venous drainage which enhances the body’s potential for healing and also encourages better distribution of the appropriate medication to the target tissues.
This photograph, taken last summer, shows Mrs Jean McTeague (85) who several years ago suffered intense pain and disability following osteoporotic fractures in her spine. A combination of diet, exercise, better medication and osteopathy helped Jean to restore her bone health and her quality of life.
To find out if we can help you call our friendly professional team on 01225 318180