What keeps us active and independent over 50? Well, if you ask any medical experts working with our skeletons they will tell you it’s your bone health. Poor bone health is common in Queensland with 88 fractures every day. A new state report released by Osteoporosis Australia this year estimates 68% of Queenslanders over 50 will have osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone density) by 2022. This is currently costing Queensland $495 million with 68% of the cost related to fractures.
Greg Lyubomirsky CEO of Osteoporosis Australia says the report is an important reminder we need to shift the focus to active intervention as too many people are having a fracture repaired in hospital but are not then investigated for osteoporosis. He says “we are looking after the fracture at considerable cost but not following up patients to check their bone health. If osteoporosis is found it can be treated.”
A Key Component of Overall Health
Mr Lyubomirsky says “we want Australians to think about their bone health as a key component of their overall health. This is because breaking a bone from a minor trip or fall is an ongoing medical emergency – it typically requires time in hospital, surgery, rehabilitation and home care. It affects both the patient and their whole family. People in this situation should not be leaving hospital without being tested for osteoporosis.”
The good news is there is a lot that can be done to protect your bone health. Greg says “maintaining good bone health involves 3 essential factors – adequate daily calcium, vitamin D and the appropriate types of exercise. For people diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are also a range of proven treatments available to reduce the risk of fracture.”
Know Your Bones
Osteoporosis Australia and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have introduced an online self-assessment called Know Your Bones to help Australians understand their risk. The website provides users with a report showing results and risks which can then be discussed with their doctor. It is based on key findings from Garvan’s 26-year osteoporosis study (the world’s longest-running study of osteoporosis in men and women). In the first year alone over 75,000 Australians have visited the website and the number is growing. The easy-to-use online self-assessment is available at www.knowyourbones.org.au so have a look and tell your friends.
How Would I Be Tested for Osteoporosis?
Your doctor will check if you have any risk factors for osteoporosis and may refer you for a bone density test. This is a simple scan – you lie flat on a bed and the scanning arm passes over your body, it only a few minutes and the results are sent back to your doctor and indicate if your bone health is in the range of normal, low bone density or osteoporosis. Both women and men can be referred for a test and rebates are available.
Be proactive for your bone health so you can stay active, independent and fracture free. It’s never too late to make your bone health a priority.
For more information visit Osteoporosis Australia, www.osteoporosis.org.au