BY TAMARA VON ESTORFF
Folks at the Burlington Gardens Retirement Home had the chance to learn about osteoporosis this past Monday.
Speaking of Bones, a program offered by Osteoporosis Canada, provides speakers to organizations such as community groups and local businesses.
Members of the speakers team come from all walks of life to help educate the public about osteoporosis. Some are professionals working in the field. Others are directly involved with osteoporosis through personal experience.
“Our mission is to have a Canada without osteoporosis,” says speaker Emily Fraser. “It is important that people know the importance of bone health.”
The presentation provided facts about osteoporosis, related risk factors, how it’s diagnosed, and provided tips on how to maintain healthy bones through diet and exercise.
One of the main risks associated with osteoporosis is bone fractures. Over 80 per cent of all fractures in people over 50 are caused by osteoporosis. The most common kind of fractures are found in the wrist, spine, hip, and shoulder, with a hip fracture being the most dangerous one of all.
“Twenty-eight per cent of women and 37 per cent of men who suffer a hip fracture will die within one year,” says Fraser. “Many who survive will be permanently disabled,” she said. “Only half will regain their health, and the rest will end up in long-term health facilities.”
By 2041, it is estimated that hip fractures alone will cost the health care system $2.4 billion if we don’t do something to address osteoporosis.
The best way to to find out whether you are at high risk for developing osteoporosis is to do an assessment. These tests can tell you whether or not you have osteoporosis and how likely you are to develop it in the future. It also helps prevent further fractures and bone loss.
“Health professionals will take a detailed history about your family members,” says Fraser. “They will also look at any steroid use or medication use, or if you have any chronic illnesses,” she said. “They will look at your consumption of alcohol and smoking to see if you are at high risk.”
For those living with osteoporosis, there are a variety of treatment options available, including bisphosphonates, denosumab, parathyroid hormone, hormone therapy, and SERMS (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators).
Health professionals also recommend making changes to your diet and exercise habits to improve bone strength and muscle mass.
For more info on the organization and their upcoming events, you can subscribe to their newsletter. For more info on support groups, treatment, nutrition, and exercise, visit their website.