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Stand Tall on This 11th World Osteoporosis Day


On this 11th World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) heed the theme “don’t bend to osteoporosis.” Stand straight and tall like the number 11 which marks the WOD held annually since 1999.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Bones that are osteoporotic are less dense and weaker than normal bones. This makes them fragile and easily broken. A person with osteoporosis is most likely to break a bone in the hip, spine or wrist often from a fall, but all the body’s bones may be affected by the disease.

According to WHO osteoporosis as a cause of disability and mortality in people is at fourth place after infectious diseases. Women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, but men can also suffer from osteoporosis.

There are risk factors for osteoporosis which can’t be changed by the individual. These include age, sex, and family history. Osteoporosis is much more common in older people, especially women over 50. If either of your parents had osteoporosis or a history of broken bones, then you are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Risk factors for osteoporosis the individual can change include inactive lifestyle, intake of tobacco/alcohol, low calcium and vitamin D intake, and poor sun exposure.

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Fractures of the hip and spine are of special concern. These will make you “bend to osteoporosis.” A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and a major surgery. It can impair a person's ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability or even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain and deformity.

“Don’t bend to osteoporosis,” prevent it.

Preventing osteoporosis begins with a healthy diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D (dairy products, green leafy vegetables, pulses, grains are good sources of calcium). Sensible sun exposure to aid your body in making vitamin D. Keep one’s weight close to ideal body weight. Coffee and beverages containing caffeine should be taken in moderation.

To “not bent to osteoporosis” one must stand tall and be physically active. Do aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, cycling) for at least 30 minutes three to four times a week. Weight-lifting is good for the bones.

Tobacco and alcohol should preferably be avoided. Talk with the family doctor about bone health is necessary.

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National Osteoporosis Foundation