The body is constantly absorbing and replacing bone tissue. With osteoporosis, the creation of new bone does not keep up with old bone removal which causes the bones to become brittle. This condition is known as a ‘silent disease’ because symptoms may not present themselves until after a broken bone injury.
What are the risk factors?
Osteoporosis is more common than we think. Both women and men can be at risk, with men making up to 25% of cases and women 75%. People over 50 years are at higher risk, however it can also develop in younger people. Risk factors can include:
Having a family history of Osteoporosis, including parents or siblings who may have broken a bone easily or rapidly lost height (both symptoms of Osteoporosis)
Low calcium and vitamin D levels. Women over 50 and men over 70 require up to 1,300mg of calcium daily. Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium.
Having a medical historyof conditions including
- Low hormone levels (menopause in women or low testosterone in men)
- Coeliac disease or other malabsorption disorders
- Breast cancer or prostate cancer treatment
- Eating disorders
- Thyroid disorders
- Kidney or liver disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Epilepsy, antidepressant or HIV treatment
Lifestyle factors including smoking, excessive alcohol intake and minimal physical activity. Hormone changes in those who are overweight or underweight can increase risk of Osteoporosis.
A T-Score is a score that’s indicative of the amount of bone density you have lost. The T-score will determine which category one falls in - Osteopenia, Osteoporosis or normal.
Osteopenia is a condition that begins as you lose bone mass. It is a T-score between 1.1 - 2.4.
Osteoblasts lay down new bone during skeletal development and re-modelling. They are known as the cells that ‘build’ bone
Osteoclasts are a type of bone cell that breaks down bone tissue. This function is critical in the maintenance, repair, and re-modelling of bones of the vertebral skeleton.
Exercise for Osteoporosis: ONERO
ONERO is an evidence-based exercise program designed specifically to prevent osteoporotic fracture by stimulating bone development and preventing falls in at-risk individuals. The program consists of high intensity resistance and impact exercises which strengthen bone and muscle. ONERO must be supervised by accredited practitioners and exercise physiologists to ensure it is delivered safely. The team at Revolution Rural Health Service are accredited ONERO practitioners.
What you can do next
- If you fall into the higher risk category or you are concerned about your bone density, contact your local GP to get a referral for a bone density scan for a diagnosis.
- Get in touch with an Exercise Physiologist or registered ONERO practitioner to start your prevention and/or management of Osteoporosis today.