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World Osteoporosis Day on 20th October

By Jackie Khor

With the winter chills behind us and with longer hours of sunshine, it’s time to shake off those winter blues and get active. Getting out and getting active is a fabulous thing you can do for yourself – to soak up the fresh air, shake off the winter pounds and to strengthen your bones, joints and muscles.

While for a few of us, this may be as easy as tying up those jogger laces and sprinting out the door, it may not be that simple for many!

With a large population of women and men who struggle with bone health issues, it is not as easy as it sounds.  Bone health issues are a key deterrent and therefore it is important to start looking after your bone health at an earlier age rather than later. Some of the foremost bone health issues faced are: decrease in bone mass, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Some of the primary causes for decrease in bone mass among younger women are smoking and excessive alcohol use. Pregnancy and breast feeding can lower bone mass as well. Women undergo rapid bone loss after menopause when levels of the bone strengthening hormone oestrogen drop dramatically.

Young women and girls should concentrate on building strong bones, to reduce their risk of bone health issues such as thinning of bones and osteoporosis later in life.

The situation is quite similar for men, whose bone mass peaks around the age of 20 years. From there on, it is vital that men ensure they have sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D to keep their bone health from deteriorating.

Osteoporosis is responsible for almost all the hip fractures in older people. The statistics are alarming! Every 5-6 minutes, someone is admitted to an Australian hospital with an osteoporotic fracture. This is expected to rise to every 3 – 4 minutes by the year 2021, as the population ages and the number of osteoporotic fractures increase.

Ensuring you consume enough calcium and Vitamin D commencing earlier in life, along with adequate exercise can reduce the incidence of bone health issues at a later age.



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