One in two women over the age of 50 in the UK will fracture a bone, mainly as a result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bones’ and is often referred to as the ‘fragile bone disease.'
People are often unaware that they have fragile bones until the time of a first fracture. Broken wrists, hips and spinal bones are the most common fractures in people with osteoporosis and it is more widespread in older age although younger people can sometimes be affected.
Please see links below to products available and organisations offering help and further information.
Bones stop growing in length between the ages of 16 and 18, but bone density continues to increase slowly until a person is in their mid 20s. At this point the balance between bone demolition and bone construction stays stable. After the age of 35, bone loss increases very gradually as part of the natural ageing process. This bone loss becomes more rapid in women for several years following the menopause and can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of broken bones, especially in later life.
Your skeleton grows stronger if you do regular weight-bearing exercise. This is any kind of physical activity where you are supporting the weight of your own body, for example jogging, aerobics, tennis, dancing and brisk walking. Weight lifting is another good type of bone-building exercise, where the action of the tendons pulling on the bones seems to boost strength.
Measuring your bone density can be done by an X-ray or Dexa Scan which can be performed privately. NHS bone scans are generally only performed on patients who are having problems, or who have a history of osteoporosis in the family or have suffered fractures.
In winter, when the chances of being out in the light are low, make up for the lack of sunshine by eating more fish, liver and eggs. All contain Vitamin D, which is also produced by the body on exposure to sunlight and is needed in the diet in winter weather. Shortage of this vitamin increases the risk of bone fractures.
Find out more about Osteoporosis by visiting the National Osteoporosis Society link below.