Osteoporosis is a treatable and preventable condition
In the UK alone there are over 1,150 deaths that occur every month as a result of a hip fracture. At the London Osteoporosis Clinic we are trying to raise awareness of the condition so that future fractures and breaks can be prevented.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become fragile and if not treated, can progress painlessly until, seemingly from nowhere, a bone breaks. Many people first become aware of osteoporosis after an initial fracture but too many ignore this warning sign and only find out about osteoporosis after a more serious break.
Am I at risk of osteoporosis?
Unfortunately osteoporosis is very common. There are over 520,000 osteoporosis related fractures in the UK per year, yet many fractures can be prevented by treatment.
Osteoporosis occurs when the spokes of the lattice become thin and break. Although osteoporosis usually affects the whole skeleton, the most common fractures are in the wrist, spine and hip.
Key facts about osteoporosis
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 in the UK will have osteoporosis
- Every minute, someone suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture
- An estimated 3.2 million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis
- Each year there are some 80,000 hip fractures, over 50,000 wrist fractures and 40,000 spinal fractures from osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis costs the NHS and government some £4 billion each year. (Reference: National Osteoporosis Society)
Signs and symptoms
There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may experience signs and symptoms that include:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected
Causes of Osteoporosis
Other factors for developing osteoporosis include:
- A sedentary lifestyle (e.g lack of exercise, not being active)
- Drinking excess alcohol
- Low sun exposure and lack of vitamin D
- Low calcium levels
- Inflammatory conditions (e.g arthritis)
- Genetic variation
- Drugs, such as steroids
- Apoptosis (cell death)
- Menopause – particularly early menopause
Life with Osteoporosis
The following video shows a National Osteoporosis Society landmark study of impact of osteoporosis and fragility fractures on people’s lives:
Read our Osteoporosis Leaflet
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become fragile and if not prevented or treated, can progress painlessly until a bone breaks, yet there are many treatments.
If you think you or your family are at risk of osteoporosis or have osteoporosis there are several new treatments to cut the risk of future fractures and complications.