Osteoporosis (meaning “porous bone”) is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture (broken bones), particularly of the hip, spine, wrist and shoulder. Typically, there are no specific symptoms associated with this condition during the early stages of bone loss. However, once your bones get weakened by this condition, you experience certain signs and symptoms such as back pain (caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra), stooped posture, bone fracture and loss of height over time. Pain management treatment for osteoporosis involves preventing fractures and using medication to strengthen bones along with significant lifestyle changes.
To create global awareness on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Osteoporosis, the metabolic bone disease, October 20 is marked as “World Osteoporosis Day (WOD)” every year. Organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) every year, WOD involves campaigns by national osteoporosis patient societies from around the world with activities in over 90 countries.
According to reports from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, about 44 million women and men aged 50 years and older have osteoporosis or low bone mass. This represents 55% of Americans in that age bracket. It is estimated that an osteoporotic fracture occurs every three seconds worldwide. From 50 years of age, one in three women and one in five men will suffer a fracture in their remaining lifetime.
The concept of WOD was started with a campaign launched by the United Kingdom’s National Osteoporosis Society and supported by the European Commission on October 20, 1996. Since, 1997, the day has been organized by IOF. Starting from 1998-1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been acting as a co-sponsor for this campaign.
The theme for the 2017 annual campaign is – Love Your Bones: Protect Your Future! Through this theme, the campaign urges the public to take early action to protect their bone and muscle health, and for health authorities and physicians to protect their community’s bone health. The 2017 annual campaign aims to –
- Promote worldwide awareness of osteoporosis and important consequences if the disease is left undiagnosed and untreated
- Promote good nutrition, calcium and exercise to achieve good bone-health
- Recognize risk factors including first fractures, and to seek testing and treatment if required
- Understand the link between osteoporosis and fractures which can be a major cause of disability and early death in older adults
Despite many effective treatment modalities available, osteoporosis often remains undiagnosed. In fact, the current osteoporosis treatments have been proven to reduce fractures by 30 to 50 percent. Through early diagnosis, timely assessment and treatment, health professionals, government health authorities and hospitals can join to reduce the potential risk of painful, debilitating and life-threatening fractures. Regular exercise and good amount of nutrition (including getting the required amount of calcium and vitamin D) can help in building and maintaining bone strength throughout the lifespan.
Join the World Osteoporosis Day campaign. Make use of this platform to educate people about osteoporosis treatment options, pain management, exercise and nutrition and diet to cope with the impact that this condition can have on your life.