Over 3 million people in the UK are living with osteoporosis. It's a common condition where bones lose strength and become fragile, making them more prone to breaking, especially in the wrist, hip and spine. Osteoporosis can be tricky because you might not realise you have it until you break a bone.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis weakens your bones over time. Your bones are living tissues and as you age, the new bone that's supposed to replaces the old one can't keep up. This overall loss of bone tissue makes your bones weaker and more fragile.
About 1 in 2 women and 1 in 9 men over the ages of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. That's over 500,000 fractures every year! So keeping your bones healthy is pretty important. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of osteoporosis until you break a bone. But there are some warning signs such has severe back pain, a curved spine or sudden height loss. If you spot any of these, ring your GP.
What affects your risk of osteoporosis?
There's no one-size fits all reason for osteoporosis, but certain things can increase your risk:
- Family history – if it runs in the family, you might be more prone.
- Age – over 50? You're more at risk.
- Gender – sorry ladies, it's more common in women due to smaller bones and menopause.
- Body weight – being on the lighter side might increase your chances.
- Medical conditions and certain medications – they can play a role.
- Lifestyle factors – things like low physical activity, smoking, too much alcohol, and a lack of calcium and vitamin D.
How do you treat osteoporosis?
Treatment involves prescription meds, calcium, vitamin D and lifestyle changes. Medications are a game-changer, strengthening your bones over time and preventing fractures. Some people even use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to combat bone loss following menopause.
If you have osteoporosis or are at risk, exercise is your friend. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing and running are top-notch for your bones. And you don't need a gym membership; simple at-home exercises can do wonders.
Take care of your bones every day
Eat calcium-rich foods: Think milk, cheese, yogurt, and leafy greens. Not getting enough? Chat with your doctor about a calcium supplement.
Vitamin D is key: Let your skin soak up some sunlight in summer (but not too much!), and consider a vitamin D supplement in winter.
Balanced diet: Include a mix of fruits, veggies, carbs, dairy, and proteins. Four main food groups, nailed it!
Quit smoking and ease up on alcohol: Both can lead to bone loss. If you've been a heavy smoker or drinker, keep your bones happy with a good diet and regular exercise.
Maintain a healthy body weight: It keeps your bones happy and provides a bit of padding in case you take a tumble.
How Carecall can help
Technology is available to help with the management of long-term health conditions like osteoporosis. in people with osteoporosis, falls often result in fractures. Reducing the risk of falls is possible and is one of the many lifestyle measures that can make a huge difference in maintaining bone health.
If you or someone you care for is prone to falling or dizzy spells and is living with osteoporosis, call us today on 0161 218 1655 to discuss how our Carecall Service can help them remain independent in their own home.