A Woman’s Risk Of Osteoporosis Increases As She Gets Older. A Broken Bone Can Severely Impact Not Just Her Quality Of Life But Also Affect The Whole Family
Irish TV presenter, Mary Kennedy, continues her valuable work with The Irish Osteoporosis Society this Mother’s Day, urging women, particularly those like Mary aged over 65, to learn more about the importance of bone health. Research shows that 1 in 5 women die within 12 months of breaking their hip. 1 Mary is calling on all women and their families to get proactive about bone health and to learn more by taking a simple risk test here.
With the Covid-19 vaccination rolling out nationwide it is timely to think about chronic conditions, like osteoporosis, that have been overlooked during the pandemic. We want women to feel more empowered and to take control of their bone health and not to leave it until they suffer a break or fracture, which can have serious consequences. Osteoporosis is considered a silent condition and is estimated to affect 200 million people globally.2 There are no signs or symptoms that a person is losing bone, therefore Osteoporosis is called the ‘Silent Disease3’. From an individual’s perspective, bone disease has a devastating impact on patients and their families. People who suffer bone fractures may be immobilized by fear of falling and suffering additional fractures. Not surprisingly, they may begin to feel isolated and helpless. Ultimately, a fracture can lead to a downward spiral in physical and mental health, and this impacts not only the individual but their families too.
“I had never given much thought to my bone health until I learned about the risks, particularly to women my own age, over 65. In Ireland, nearly 7 out of 10 hip fractures happen to women4. When a woman reaches menopause, her oestrogen levels drop and can lead to bone loss. For some women, this bone loss is rapid and severe 5. I’m a passionate advocate for women’s health and wellbeing, and my bone health has become a real priority for me since I started my advocacy work with The Irish Osteoporosis Society last year.
When speaking with my family about the condition and the impact it can have on people’s lives, they were also surprised. If we have one conversation this Mother’s Day, it should be about the importance of bone health and the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is ‘silent’ as bone loss occurs without symptoms6. However, it is treatable and broken bones can be prevented. It is so important to be proactive about bone disease, so talk to your mother or grandmother about osteoporosis because she doesn’t deserve a break”. commented Mary Kennedy.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and easily breakable, resulting in life-changing fractures7. Those with osteoporosis can fracture a bone even after the most minor fall from standing height, or from simply sneezing, or bending to tie a shoelace8. For some women, bone loss happens faster than for others and some will lose 20% of their bone density during the five to seven years after menopause9.
Founder and President of the Irish Osteoporosis Society, Professor Moira O’Brien, said “Getting proactive with bone health is crucial. In order to manage osteoporosis properly, early diagnoses and ongoing treatment is key. Taking the osteoporosis risk test for bone loss is the first step to determine if you are at risk. Approximately 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 (10) will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis and a major cause of bone loss is when a woman’s oestrogen levels decline due to menopause11. Painful broken bones can significantly impair your daily activities and as we know can even lead to death, not to mention the impact it can have on the entire family on an emotional level, seeing their loved one lose their independence. Educating yourself and speaking with family members about the disease can save lives.”
The ‘She Doesn’t Deserve A Break’ campaign is associated with the Irish Osteoporosis Society and organised by Amgen.
References 1 Schnell S et al. Geriatr Orthop Surg Rehabil, 2010 pp 6-14 2 Reginster JY, Burlet N. Osteoporosis: A still increasing prevalence. Bone. 2006;38 (2 Suppl 1):S4-S9 3 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview#:~:text=Osteoporosis%20is%20called%20a%20%E2%80%9Csilent,or%20hunched%20posture%20(kyphosis). Accessed Jan 2021 4 Hip fracture database report 2016 https://www.lenus.ie/handle/10147/622659 Accessed Feb 2021 5 https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/ Date Accessed: Feb 2021 6 World J Orthop, 2016 March 18; 7(3): 171-181 7 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/SGR/surgeon-generals-report#b Accessed Jan 2021 8 World J Orthop, 2016 March 18; 7(3): 171-181 9 https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/ Accessed Jan 2021 10 https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics#:~:text=Worldwide%2C%201%20in%203%20women,%2C%20respectively%2C%20occur%20in%20women. Accessed Jan 2021 11 https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/#:~:text=Estrogen%2C%20a%20hormone%20in%20women,increases%20as%20women%20reach%20menopause. Accessed Jan 2021