Aging brings many new challenges and one very real risk is osteoporosis. There are 1.4 million Canadians living with it yet most of us know relatively little about the disease.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin and porous, decreasing bone strength and leading to increased risk of breaking a bone, most often the wrist, spine, shoulder or hip. Most often thought of as a disease that impacts elderly women, it can actually strike at any age and both men and women can have it.
Here are some more important facts:
- There is no known single cause
- There are no recognizable symptoms, unless a fracture occurs
- Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined
- Over 80% of all fractures in people 50+ are caused by osteoporosis
- At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime
As a woman in my forties who has experienced a fracture, these statistics concern me. After going through this checklist for risk factors, I plan to ask my doctor about testing for bone loss for myself and my family, since we have all experienced fractures. My husband even managed to break two wrists at once!
Since peak bone mass is achieved at an early age, building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis later. Ensuring your children eat a diet high in calcium is vital. Guidelines recommend that adults consume 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day, but most of us don’t come close. Vitamin D, and protein are also important for healthy bones, as is exercise and strength training.
It is estimated that almost 42,000 people will experience a broken hip per year, which means that those of us in our 30s and 40s are currently at risk. I have seen first hand how devastating a broken hip can be and I do not intend to be one of those statistics. In addition to eating a diet high in calcium and exercising daily, I am taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements daily.
As part of an effort to promote better bone health for Canadians, Osteoporosis Canada has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart/PharmaPrix whose pharmacists are equipped to provide education and advice to patients about osteoporosis management and reducing the risk. In addition, Osteoporosis Canada is lending its endorsement to Life Brand Vitamin D and Calcium products, to help in the prevention and management of osteoporosis.
Visit your Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist today or visit www.osteoporosis.ca for more information about better bone health!