The National Osteoporosis Society today reveals that a fracture relating to osteoporosis occurs once every two minutes across the UK, with one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 suffering a break as a result of poor bone health.
Stop at One, the charity’s campaign, aims to raise awareness of bone health and tackle the problem of fractures in the over 50s.
New research conducted by the National Osteoporosis Society found that a fifth of women don’t receive an osteoporosis diagnosis until after three or more bones have been fractured. The study also suggests that GPs and hospital staff often fail to instigate conversations about bone health with those at risk.
Writer, broadcaster and GP, Dr Carol Cooper is an ambassador for the campaign and adds: "I've seen at first hand with my patients, and then with my own mother, how frustrating and debilitating it can be to suffer from broken bones due to osteoporosis. The message behind this campaign is that it's better to know as early as possible what your risk is, so that you can protect yourself. Broken bones are a major burden, and in some cases they can be fatal. Every year, thousands of people are dying from avoidable hip fractures.”
One in ten of the group who had suffered more than three broken bones said they had never discussed the condition or bone health with medical professionals treating their fractures.
2.3 million women over the age of 50 in the UK have osteoporosis, which incapacitates them for an average of 40 days, every time a bone is broken. Fractures linked to osteoporosis, make it difficult to do many essential daily tasks.
Ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on 20 October, Stop at One encourages people to find out more about osteoporosis by using online resources including a bone health quiz or talking to their GP.
Claire Severgnini, Chief Executive of the National Osteoporosis Society: “Those who are most vulnerable to osteoporosis and fragility fractures are often not aware of the condition or don’t recognise the signs that they are at risk. The condition can have a huge impact on your quality of life, creating unnecessary months of difficulty with everything from daily tasks such as getting washed in the morning, to driving and even enjoying time with loved ones.
“The Stop at One campaign will encourage women to take a proactive approach by getting more information online and having the confidence to speak to their doctor about a bone check. When people are aware they have the condition, more steps can be taken to reduce unnecessary fractures.”
Every year there are 89,000 hip fractures linked to osteoporosis which cost the UK £6 million a day in health and social costs. After the first break, one in eight will go on to break another bone within a year and 25% within five years. When the condition remains undiagnosed people are unable to take steps to protect themselves against the effects of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can be treated and there are simple things you can do to help keep your bones healthy at all ages, including changing your exercise, diet, smoking and alcohol consumption habits. Contact the National Osteoporosis Society by phone or online for information, advice and support – www.nos.org.uk/stopatone or 0845 450 0230.