Did you know a bone is broken every 3.4 minutes in Australia’s? Osteoporosis is on the rise, but there are some things you can do to reduce the risk and prevent fractures.

According to Greg Lyubomirsky, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia, “Osteoporosis is a common, chronic and debilitating disease affecting over one million Australians with over 160,000 fractures annually. It can lead to premature death without proper treatment and management.” Sobering words indeed!

So what can you do to reduce the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis?

First of all, ensure you have adequate calcium in your diet. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of   calcium varies according to age.

*Children (9-11 yrs) 1000mg per day

*Teens (12-18 yrs) 1300mg per day

*Adults (19 yrs +) 1000mg per day

  • Women (50 yrs +) 1300mg per day
  • Pregnant women 1000mg per day
  • Men (70 yrs +) 1300mg per day
    Yet, despite the array of calcium rich foods available, more than half of all Australians fail to reach their RDI! It may be worthwhile considering a calcium supplement, especially if you have a malabsorption disease ( e.g. coeliac) or take corticosteroids for more than 3 months.

Next, ensure you get enough Vitamin D, which acts to increase the amount of calcium you absorb. Amazingly, the “slip, slop, slap” campaign has been so effective, that we are now finding more people are low in Vitamin D levels. If the UV Index is below 3, you don’t need sun protection. Above 3, however, you should only be exposed without protection for a few minutes each day ….. but that is generally adequate for summer, with a bit more exposure in winter. Otherwise, there are supplements available from your pharmacy.

Exercise is another very important factor in bone health. A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for osteoporosis. You need to do weight-bearing exercises for bone strength ( where you are on your feet) as well as resistance training. If you are fit and healthy, exercise shouldn’t be a problem for you. But should you be less mobile or have an injury limiting your ability to exercise, you should make an appointment to see a qualified osteopath. They can help with your mobility issues and set out an exercise program to help keep your bones strong.

Reducing fracture risk also means reducing falls. If you don’t have good balance, your chances of having a fall is greatly increased. This applies equally to those at risk of osteoporosis, those already diagnosed with osteoporosis, and, indeed, those recovering from a fracture due to osteoporosis. Your well trained osteopath is well placed to help you in the art of improving your balance. Pilates, working on core strength, is one of the tools used by the osteopaths at 13th Beach Health Services.

So, for all those people at risk of osteoporosis, be pro-active. Check your calcium and Vitamin D intake, get supplements if needed, and make an appointment at 13th Beach Health Services to get a program that works on your bone health and balance to further reduce your risk of an osteoporitic fracture.

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