Are your bones healthy?National Pharmacies
Osteoporosis is a common and costly disease that affects approximately 1.2 million Australians. The definition of osteoporosis is “bones with holes” and these holes lead to structural weaknesses by reducing bone density, which greatly increases the risk of fractures. These fractures commonly occur in the spine, wrist and hips, but can also occur in the arms or pelvis.
Osteoporosis often has no warning signs or symptoms until someone experiences a fracture, usually after a minor fall. Those who experience a fracture are more likely to experience a second fracture in their lifetime. Fractures affect a person’s mobility and can significantly affect quality of life, so take the chance to be proactive about your bone health on the lead up to World Osteoporosis Day on October 20th.
Who gets osteoporosis? Osteoporosis affects women more then men, due to the difference between male and female hormones (estrogen and testosterone). Whilst women suffer from more fractures the effect of osteoporosis on men is still significant. Men are often neglected when it comes to osteoporosis representation, despite accounting for one-third of all hip fractures in the community. Furthermore, increased age is a risk factor in developing osteoporosis due to decreasing bone density, with the maximum bone density reached around the age of twenty. Treatment of osteoporosis Osteoporosis can be treated through supplementation of calcium and vitamin D or prescription medications after consultation with your doctor. When deciding whether supplementation is right for you, consult your National Pharmacies pharmacist as some supplements can interact with prescription medications (such as thyroid medications and proton pump inhibitors used for heartburn). It is never too late to seek treatment for osteoporosis just as it is never too early to plan prevention strategies for osteoporosis. Interventions with osteoporosis can limit bone density loss and significantly reduce the risk of fractures. It is important to consult your doctor and pharmacist to see if your strategies are appropriate, safe and effective.
What can be done about osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis prevention involves a range of lifestyle and nutritional factors:
> Avoiding smoking
> Limiting alcohol (less than 2 standard drinks per day)
> Eating a balanced diet of fresh fruit, wholegrain and foods high in calcium (such as dairy)
> Absorbing enough vitamin D from the sun:
• 6 to 7 minutes mid-morning or mid-afternoon, with bare arms, in Summer.
• 7 to 40 minutes at noon, with as much bare skin as feasible, in Winter.
> Regular weight bearing and strength exercises.
Stefan Renzella-Lombardi, Pharmacist In Charge, National Pharmacies Blakeview
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