Monday, 9 November 2015 5:05:21 PM Australia/Melbourne

Osteoporosis is a common disease in Australia with 1.2 million people estimated to have osteoporosis and further 6.3 million with low bone density. This disease makes bones become brittle leading to a higher risk of breaks than in normal bone. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causing a loss of bone thickness (bone density or mass).

As bones become thinner and less dense, even a minor bump or fall can cause a serious fracture. A ‘fracture’ is a complete or partial break in a bone. Any bone can be affected by osteoporosis, but the most common sites are the hip, spine and wrist. Fractures in the spine due to osteoporosis can result in height loss or changes in posture.

Osteoporosis usually has no symptoms until a fracture occurs. It is diagnosed with a bone density scan or test. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis your doctor will determine the best treatment. Medications can reduce the risk of fractures by up to 60%, but calcium, vitamin D and exercise are all important for maintaining strong bones.

One of the most critical issues is preventing a fall. For people with osteoporosis, even a minor fall can cause a broken bone or fracture. Fractures can lead to chronic pain, a loss of independence, disability and even premature death. The risk of future fractures rises with each new fracture – this is known as the ‘cascade effect’. For example, women who have suffered a fracture in their spine are over 4 times more likely to have another fracture within the next year.

Falls are most commonly caused by:

  • Poor muscle strength
  • Problems with vision
  • Problems with balance (weak muscles, low blood pressure, inner ear problems, some medicines, poor nutrition)
  • Home hazards that cause tripping

You can take action to maintain and improve your bone health at every stage of life. Adequate calcium intake, proper vitamin D levels (to help absorb calcium) and specific exercises are all important for healthy bones. For people with low bone density or osteoporosis these 3 factors are very important.

Another great means of prevention is to assess your home or living environments for risk of falls. At AGA, we offer a Home Safety Assessment which is designed to do just that - a healthcare professional visits your home and helps identify areas of risk and how to overcome this. A great range of products is now available to help keep you safe and minimise the risk of falls in your everyday world. You can learn more by downloading our brochure of browse our site for great falls prevention products.

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