Important facts about reducing risk and identifying the signs of osteoporosis from our partners at Osteoporosis Canada www.osteoporosis.ca

Fact #1:

At least 1 in 3 women will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. Fractures from osteoporosis among Canadian women are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.

Women have the misconception that osteoporosis isn’t common and that it won’t affect them.

Women need to inform themselves about the prevalence of this disease.

Fact #2

There is the misconception that osteoporosis is an old person’s disease.

Osteoporosis can strike at any age. Osteoporosis has been called a paediatric disease with geriatric consequences.

Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defence against developing osteoporosis later.

Peak bone mass is achieved at an early age, age 16-20 in young women and age 20-25 in young men.

Women begin to lose bone in their mid-30s at the rate of about 1%; as they approach menopause, women lose bone at a greater rate, from 2-3 per cent per year.

Fact #3

If a person shoveling snow has a heart attack, they don’t blame the snow bank. If a woman falls and breaks her wrist, she blames the pavement. “I fell hard, that’s why I broke my wrist.”

The most common sites of osteoporotic fracture are the wrist, spine, shoulder and hip.

Over 80% of all fractures in people 50+ are caused by osteoporosis, but fewer than 20% of women who fracture are assessed All women 50+ should talk to their doctor about a fracture risk assessment to determine their risk of having a fracture from osteoporosis in the next 10 years.

A study recently reported that only 44% of people discharged from hospital for a hip fracture return home; of the rest, 10% go to another hospital, 27% go to rehabilitation care, and 17% go to long-term care facilities.

Fact #4:

No single cause for osteoporosis has been identified. Risk factors include age, sex, vertebral compression fracture, fragility fracture after age 40, either parent has had a hip fracture, >3 months use of glucocorticoid drugs, medical conditions that inhibit absorption of nutrients and other medical conditions or medications that contribute to bone loss.

Fact #5:

Osteoporosis Canada recommends 1200mg of calcium for Canadians over the age of 50. For those over 50, Canada’s Food Guide recommends 3 servings of milk and alternatives (2 servings for adults under age 50) – yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified beverages, puddings, custards, etc. If you are unable to meet your needs with food, you may need a calcium supplement and should discuss with your physician, pharmacist or registered dietitian.

Calcium Calculator – it will estimate your daily intake so you can make decisions on how best to meet your goals.

Fact #6:

Physical activity helps to reduce the risk of falls and fractures and to prevent bone loss. Physical activity to prevent osteoporosis includes both weight-bearing and strength-training exercise. Weight-bearing is any exercise where the entire weight of the body is supported by the legs, such as walking, line dancing, low-impact aerobics or racquet sports. Exercise programs for people at risk for or with osteoporosis should be aimed at increasing strength, coordination, balance and flexibility.

Fact #7:

There are very few food sources of vitamin D. In fact, it is impossible for adults to get sufficient vitamin D from diet alone, no matter how good their nutrition. Therefore, Osteoporosis Canada recommends routine vitamin D supplementation for all Canadian adults year round.