Osteoporosis is common, and it may show no symptoms. It can have devastating impact, but it IS treatable.
In the UK alone there are over 1,100 deaths that occur every month as a result of a hip fracture. At the London Osteoporosis Clinic, we think this is completely unacceptable – especially when many of these fractures could have been prevented.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become fragile and if not treated, can progress painlessly until, seemingly from nowhere, a bone breaks.
Osteoporosis is common
There are over 500,000 osteoporosis related fractures in the UK per year, yet many fractures can be prevented by treatment.
The bones in our skeleton are made of a thick outer shell and a strong inner mesh filled with collagen (protein), calcium salts and other minerals. The bone structure is lattice-like.
Osteoporosis occurs when the spokes of the lattice 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 2 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 million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis
- Each year there are some 80,000 hip fractures (projected to be over 110,000 in 2016), 50,000 wrist fractures and 40,000 spinal fractures from osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis costs the NHS and government over £2.2 billion each year or £6 million each day (Reference: National Osteoporosis Society)
Signs and symptoms
There typically are 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
- Life with osteoporosis – patient videos
As well as a low peak bone mass, there are other factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis:
- 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:
#osteoporosis is preventable
A hip #fracture results in limited function and disability