Osteoporosis – The Bone Disease that has never been about age
On 20 October the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa will be celebrating World Osteoporosis Day and is urging the public to wake up and take notice of a bone disease which is underdiagnosed and undertreated.
There is a serious misconception that Osteoporosis is a normal part of ageing. Although it is mostly age-related, it is not exclusive to the senior population, and more importantly, it can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition from an early age.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures (broken bones). People with osteoporosis can experience a fracture even after a slight bump, or a fall from standing height, in the course of daily activities. Osteoporosis has no signs or symptoms until a fracture occurs – this is why it is often called a ‘silent disease’. Fractures due to osteoporosis occur most commonly at sites such as the wrist, upper arm, pelvis, hip and spine, and can result in severe pain, significant disability and even death
One of NOFSA’s brand ambassadors, Karlien van der Schyf (38) a qualified Clinical Neurophysiologist and long distance runner is a classic example. During the Comrades Marathon she broke her femoral neck mid stride from overuse and an on-going stress fracture due to undiagnosed Osteoporosis.
Karlien knew that osteoporosis ran in her family but she remained in denial when a highly qualified, wonderful orthopaedic surgeon explained to her that her body wasn’t built for long distance running and that she might never run again. Through perseverance and determination as well as correct treatment, she completed her first 42.2 km marathon six months after her operation. Exactly one year after she broke her leg mid-stride at the Comrades 2019 and found out she had osteoporosis she ran the 90km Virtual Comrades Marathon.
In all countries and cultures, women play a vital role in the family and in society. Women over the age of 50 in particular face an increasing burden of responsibilities; as caregivers to the young and old, bread winners preparing for retirement and contributors to the welfare of the communities in which they live. Because osteoporosis is so common, every woman must come to recognise that bone health really matters to her and the welfare of her family.
You can celebrate World Osteoporosis Day by wearing white on the 20th of October. Celebrate good bone health by ensuring that you and your family avoid premature bone loss and maintain a healthy skeleton by following a balanced diet every day and where necessary, take approved elements to boost your physical wellbeing and exercise. If you are concerned about your risk of developing osteoporosis visit our website to do a free risk assessment. NOFSA is also hosting a Virtual Run on the 30th of November to raise funds and awareness for osteoporosis.
Breaking Records Not Bones – A Guinness World Record Attempt
Amgen Invites THE general public to Receive Free Screenings to help Predict and Prevent osteoporosis while setting aN Official World Record for Most osteoporosis Screenings Conducted in a 24-hour Period
Osteoporosis-Screening Events to Take Place in Ten Countries on May 5, in Conjunction with Guinness World Records®
The South African leg of this world record breaking event will take place at Sandton City on 5 May, from the hours of 08h00 – 18h00.
For more on this issue Jane Rabothata spoke to NOFSA Chief Executive Officer, Tereza Hough.