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Love Your Bones – World Osteoporosis Day

Posted on 20th October 2017 by

Today is World Osteoporosis Day.World Osteoporosis day

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones, causing them to become less dense and therefore more fragile and easily broken.

We will naturally lose some bone density as we age but in some people this occurs more rapidly and is then known as osteoporosis or osteopenia (a milder form). This affects more than 3 million people in the UK and its thought 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

You may be at higher risk of osteoporosis if:

  • You have low body weight or history of anorexia
  • You had an early menopause or hysterectomy
  • You don’t get enough vitamin D and calcium in your diet
  • You smoke or drink over the recommended limit of alcohol a week
  • You’ve had long course of steroid based medication or cancer treatment

Most people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone but it can be diagnosed by a DEXA scan which looks at your bone density.

If you have osteoporosis your GP may prescribe medications such as alendronic acid which helps slow the breakdown of bone, or calcium and vitamin D supplements which help build new bone. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet and avoid smoking and alcohol are also likely to be beneficial.

Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises have been shown to help stimulate our bones to grow stronger. The most suitable type of exercise will depend on how much bone density you have already lost, for example younger people with reasonable bone density but several risk factors would benefit from higher impact training such as running, circuit training, tennis and football.

However, if you already have been diagnosed with osteoporosis start with lower impact exercises such as walking, Pilates, tai chi, gentle dance classes and lifting light weights to build your bones up more gradually.

Our Positive Steps classes are a perfect place to start, aimed at the over 60’s we combine seated and standing resistance exercises with balance and flexibility work. With 2 levels of class, small numbers and a fun and relaxed atmosphere you’ll be feeling the benefits straight away.

If you are unsure what’s the best type of exercise for you consult your GP or come along and see one of our Physiotherapists.

World Osteoporosis Day

Osteoporosis Fracture Risk

 

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Osteoporosis

Posted on 25th May 2017 by

The definition of osteoporosis comes from, ‘Osteo’ – a prefix denoting bone and ‘porosis’ – implying the weakening of a structure or porous bone.

It’s the loss of boney tissue resulting in bones that are weakened and liable to fracture.

Osteoporosis

Who is at risk osteoporosis?

  • Those with low body weight
  • Maternal history of the disease
  • Smokers
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Low dietary calcium intake
  • Late puberty
  • History of eating disorders
  • Generally physically inactive
  • High caffeine intake
  • History of steroid use/treatment
  • Previous fractures, particularly after menopause

Who can be affected by osteoporosis?

Worldwide it is estimated that 200 million women suffer from osteoporosis. It is unknown how many men suffer from the disease but it is on the increase. Although it is commonly thought of as an affliction of the older population, it can affect people of all ages. It is more common amongst the white and Asian population and less so in black populations.

What potential problems arise from osteoporosis?

The bones become weakened and result in low bone mass and are, therefore, more susceptible to a fracture. In the UK there are an estimated 60,000 hip, 50,000 wrist and 40,000 spine fractures due to osteoporosis every year.

Other fragility fractures are also associated with osteoporosis e.g. pelvis and upper arm.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men surviving to the age of 80 will suffer a hip fracture.

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

It is usually a silent disease until the individual suffers a fracture. However, there are many screening tests that can now be done and if you think you are at risk of osteoporosis from the risk factors above, it is advised to see your GP.

A Colles fracture is a break of the wrist and is most common among women aged between 45 and 65. It is often the first sign of osteoporosis.

Back pain can be a symptom of osteoporosis. Pain in the back can gradually creep up over time and your posture can become noticeably more flexed forwards. Over time, you can lose height too. Episodes of acute back pain which settle after a few weeks can be due to spontaneous vertebral fractures, caused by osteoporosis.

Physiotherapy and osteoporosis

Physiotherapy can have a key role to play in both the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. There are a number of ways in which we can help.

  • Education on appropriate exercise, posture, diet and lifestyle changes. This can be both to prevent osteoporosis or help minimise it’s impact of you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
  • Exercises to target vulnerable areas and help keep the bones and joints strong.
  • Core stability and muscle strengthening exercise programmes.
  • Balance exercises to help prevent falls.
  • Advice on water-based exercises to help strengthen core stability, improve range of movement and reduce pain.
  • Ongoing support in order to self-manage the disease in the long term including preventing and managing fractures.

The role of exercise in managing osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercise is proven to have a positive effect on bone mass.  The less weight that goes through the bones, the more likely they are to weaken further, so weight bearing and resistance exercises play a crucial part. Specific exercise, as prescribed by your physiotherapist, target the vulnerable areas of the body. Through strengthening the muscles and keeping joint stiffness to a minimum, you are less likely to suffer from pain and the risk of fractures may be reduced.

Other exercise to be considered:

We offer a range of services at goPhysio to help support you if you are looking to prevent or minimise the impact of osteoporosis. If you’d like any help or advice, please give us a call.