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Osteoporosis: A Significant Concern for Elderly Women and Men
By Susan Hyatt, Guest Blogger
Article Posted on
Osteoporosis is a disease that both men and women are at risk for as they grow older. It’s important for seniors and their families to understand the high incidence of osteoporosis in order to be prepared if they or someone they love becomes affected by the disease.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of bone tissue as well as having low bone mass, resulting in greater bone fragility and risk of fracture. Bone loss can occur without symptoms, which is dangerous because of the frequency of fractures due to (typically undiagnosed) osteoporosis.
At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture – a greater incidence than heart attacks, stroke, and breast cancer combined!
This disease causes 70-90% of the 30,000 annual hip fractures. Unfortunately, fewer than 20% of Canadian fracture patients are currently diagnosed and properly treated for osteoporosis. Furthermore, the risk of a repeat fracture increases after a first fracture, particularly without adequate treatment and precautions.
Is osteoporosis the same as osteoarthritis?
No. Osteoporosis is a disease of low bone mass and increased risk of fractures, while osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints and the surrounding tissue. Osteoarthritis is not associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. However, a person can have both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis at the same time.
Diagnosing and living with osteoporosis
If you or a family member has osteoporosis, early detection is essential for receiving the right treatment and taking the necessary precautions to live life fully with the disease.
The most important thing is to prevent falls, as people with osteoporosis are much more likely to break a bone if they fall. Your physiotherapist or occupational therapist can help you reduce hazards in your home and provide tips for preventing falls as you go about your day-to-day activities.
If you are dealing with osteoporosis – stay positive! You are not alone, and many people live happy, full lives with this disease.
Susan Hyatt, BSc (PT), MBA, is CEO & Co-founder of Silver Sherpa, a lifestyle transitions company delivering independent, personalized advice and assistance for seniors in crisis or considering major transitions. Get in touch with us for a complimentary consultation.