Keep­ing bones healthy

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

Look­ing af­ter our bones is an im­por­tant part of our health. It is im­por­tant to be aware of bone health early on in life, be­fore dis­eases such as os­teo­poro­sis set in. Os­teo­poro­sis_In­for­mzOs­teo­poro­sis means por­ous bones. This chronic con­di­tion oc­curs when our bones lose min­er­als, prin­ci­pally cal­cium, and the body can’t re­place the min­er­als quickly enough to keep the bones healthy. The re­sult is bones be­com­ing frag­ile and brit­tle, caus­ing them to break and crack more eas­ily. All bones are at risk, but the most com­mon frac­tures oc­cur in the spine, hip, and wrist. Ac­cord­ing to Os­teo­poro­sis Aus­tralia (www.os­teo­poro­sis. org.au), 7.5 mil­lion Aus­tralians have low bone den­sity which puts them at risk of a bone frac­ture with se­ri­ous, some­times fa­tal, con­se­quences. The mes­sage from Os­teo­poro­sis Aus­tralia is to know your bone den­sity and stay frac­ture free. For more in­for­ma­tion visit the web­site www.how­denseareyou.org.au. The sta­tis­tics on os­teo­poro­sis are fright­en­ing. Ev­ery 5–6 min­utes some­one is ad­mit­ted to an Aus­tralian hos­pi­tal with a frac­ture as a re­sult of os­teo­poro­sis. This is likely to in­crease to ev­ery 3–4 min­utes within the next 10 years. About 50% of peo­ple with one frac­ture due to os­teo­poro­sis will have an­other. The risk of fu­ture frac­tures rises with each new frac­ture – known as the ‘cas­cade ef­fect’. This ‘cas­cade ef­fect’ means that women who have suf­fered a frac­ture in their spine are more than four times more likely to have an­other frac­ture within the next year, com­pared to women who have never had an os­teo­porotic frac­ture. Os­teo­poro­sis is most com­mon in post­menopausal women. The chal­lenge re­mains in iden­ti­fy­ing these frac­tures. Os­teo­poro­sis of­ten presents no symp­toms un­til a frac­ture oc­curs, and of­ten not di­ag­nosed un­til af­ter a per­son has ex­pe­ri­enced their first frac­ture. It is very im­por­tant for any­one over >50 who ex­pe­ri­ences a frac­ture from a mi­nor bump or fall, to be in­ves­ti­gated to check if the frac­ture was caused by os­teo­poro­sis. It is es­ti­mated that two-thirds of frac­tures of the spine are not iden­ti­fied or treated, de­spite the fact they nearly all cause pain. Peo­ple can mis­tak­enly be­lieve that the symp­toms of spine frac­tures – back pain, height loss or round­ing of the spine – are just due to ‘old age’. Frac­tures can lead to chronic pain, dis­abil­ity, loss of in­de­pen­dence and even pre­ma­ture death. There­fore pre­vent­ing frac­tures and man­ag­ing bone health is a pri­or­ity for our health sys­tem. For pa­tients di­ag­nosed with os­teo­poro­sis, loss of bone den­sity may have taken place over many years. It takes time to re-build bone strength. Us­ing the right medicine, in the right way, is crit­i­cal for bone health. In Aus­tralia, medicine to treat os­teo­poro­sis has been pre­scribed for many years. Aus­tralians have ben­e­fited from the long-term use of os­teo­poro­sis medicines to slow bone den­sity loss and re­duce the risk of frac­ture. Your phar­ma­cist is your medicines ex­pert. Talk to your phar­ma­cist if you have any ques­tions or con­cerns about your medicine for os­teo­poro­sis, in­clud­ing dosage (how much), fre­quency (how of­ten), mode of ac­tion (how it works), in­ter­ac­tions with other medicines and even food! Your lo­cal phar­macy is your health des­ti­na­tion. Your phar­ma­cist is there to pro­vide ad­vice, coun­selling and pro­fes­sional ser­vices along with dis­pens­ing pre­scrip­tion medicines and sup­ply­ing non-pre­scrip­tion medicines. Speak­ing to your phar­ma­cist about your medicines is a good way to en­sure that you con­tinue to get the max­i­mum health ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing cal­cium and vi­ta­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion, bone den­sity test­ing, and non-phar­ma­co­log­i­cal strate­gies to re­duce the risk or fur­ther im­pact of os­teo­poro­sis. You can get more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about look­ing af­ter your bones and bone health from phar­ma­cies around Aus­tralia pro­vid­ing the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal So­ci­ety of Aus­tralia’s (PSA) Self Care health in­for­ma­tion, where you can pick up an Os­teo­poro­sis Fact Card. For the near­est Self Care phar­macy lo­ca­tion phone PSA on 1300 369 772, or go to www.psa.org.au ‘Sup­port­ing prac­tice’ then ‘Self Care’, and then ‘Find a Self Care phar­macy’.

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