Osteoporosis

It's the crippling condition dubbed the "silent thief". Gloria Rowe is just one of more than 1 million Australians battling with Osteoporosis.

Diagnosed 24 years ago at just 43 years old Gloria says a routine bone density scan delivered the news she wasn't expecting so soon.

Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them leading to weak and brittle bones.

"As we get older it's at least half the population suffer diseases and fractures as a result of osteoporosis." Professor Richard Prince from Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA says it's never too early or late to look after our frame. "We all begin to realise we live a very long time and physical health is critical for long term survival and happiness."

According to Professor Prince prevention is the key - and it's never too late to strengthen your skeleton - starting with what you eat.

"Calcium because those are the crystals that make our bones stiff and protein because that's what the bone is basically made of as well." Milk, yogurt and cheese are great sources of calcium. But calcium can't be absorbed without vitamin D - which is free from the sun - or in supplement. "The vitamin D works to get the calcium out of the food in your intestine into the body."

As women are the biggest concern when it comes to bones, alarming figures show around 9 out of 10 women aged 19-49 don't consume enough calcium rich dairy foods. "You've got to keep up your good habits throughout your life."

As bones become thinner and less dense for sufferers, minor bumps and falls can cause serious fractures.

Staying sturdy on your feet is also a step in the right direction, "balance is a big deal throughout life actually but it's more of a problem as we get older."

Across the board for our bodies, exercise is always a healthy choice, for osteoporosis prevention walking and weights are the way to go. "The good news is walking 10,000 steps a day is good for our hearts and its good for our legs the bones in our legs."

As for Gloria, her biggest tip, less is more. "Being aware that not to do too many things at once that could make me fall so just taking precautions."

Professor Prince says "If we can train our population to look after themselves A it will be cheaper and B they will be healthier."

 

Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA is the only organisation that is dedicated to providing programs in education, care and self-management to West Australians with bone and joint disease.

For more information, viewers can contact us by:

Calling: 9388 2199

Country (Toll Free): 1800 011 041

www.arthritiswa.org.au

FREE information booklets are available and information fact sheets are available in different languages.