It’s never too early or too late to improve your bone health

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means porous bones. It is a ‘silent’ disease that is often not diagnosed until a bone fracture occurs.

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly remodeled throughout our lives. A combination of healthy hormone levels, adequate dietary calcium, vitamin D, food energy and high-quality protein, in conjunction with weight bearing/strengthening exercise, keeps our bones healthy.

As we get older, it is normal to lose more bone than is replaced, but people with Osteoporosis lose significantly more bone than others. Certain medical conditions such as Coeliac disorder can also worsen osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to become fragile and therefore they break easily e.g. after a minor bump or fall. Breaks such as these are known as fragility fractures. A broken bone as a result of a simple trip or fall from a standing position is not normal at any age. Osteoporosis can affect the whole skeleton, but the most common areas to break are the wrist, spine and hip.

Who is affected by Osteoporosis?

The disease affects all age groups and both sexes – not just women and old people. Up to 300,000 people in Ireland may have Osteoporosis. One in five men and half of all women over 50 in Ireland will develop a fracture due to Osteoporosis in their lifetime. The condition can even affect children.

What can I do?

Don’t panic, osteoporosis can be prevented in most cases, with good diet and lifestyle choices. We can help you make those choices, by providing suitable preventive exercise plans.

If you do develop osteoporosis, it is a treatable disease in the majority of people. Early diagnosis is essential for the best results. A DXA scan of your spine and hip area, in a hospital Imaging Department, is the gold standard for diagnosing Osteoporosis and is highly recommended if you are at risk. Speak to your GP if you have concerns.

Don’t wait for the the first fragility fracture to seek advice and help for Osteoporosis.

Do I have Osteoporosis?

Symptoms may include some, all or none of the following:

  • Sudden, severe episodes of upper, middle or low back pain
  • Loss of height (greater than 2cm) as the spine reduces in size
  • Development of a curvature or hump on the back, and/or a change in body shape, for example, the rib cage may rest on pelvic rim, or a pot belly develops

Remember, most people have no pain until a fracture occurs but a small percentage of people can have back or hip pain prior to a fracture.

It is essential that you speak with your doctor or an Osteoporosis specialist if you experience any of these signs or symptoms or if you have a risk factor for Osteoporosis (eg if you’re Coeliac).

How can you help me?

Our Chartered Physiotherapsists are experts in assessing each patient and in devising a safe, controlled exercise plan of weight-bearing and stretching exercises to suit each patient’s ability. Our Chartered Physiotherapists will work closely with your GP, dietician, geriatrician and associated healthcare professionals to build a comprehensive treatment plan, tailored for your needs.

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