World Osteoporosis Day takes place every year on October 20, with the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) launching a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. Bon Secours Richmond Health System’s Healthy Bones Team, composed of medical experts from different disciplines, believes that it’s time to break the trend of osteoporosis and decrease bone fractures in adults of all ages. Some staggering statistics on osteoporosis (derived from Greek words meaning “porous bone”) add plenty of backbone to the team’s mission to prevent first-time and repeat fractures from occurring:
- About half of women over age 50, and about one in five men, will break a bone due to osteoporosis
- Men are twice as likely as women to die in the year following a hip fracture
- Osteoporosis causes an estimated two million broken bones each year
- About 54 million Americans age 50 and older are at risk of osteoporosis.
Learn more about Osteoporosis and who is at risk in this special report by Charles Fishburne, 88.9 WCVE.
Charles Fishburne: Doctors say about 54 million of us are at risk of osteoporosis and most don’t have a clue…
Dr. Alan Stern Director of Bon Secours Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center: Because osteoporosis is a silent disease, until one fractures.
Charles Fishburne: Dr. Alan Stern, Director of Bon Secours Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center, says about half of women over 50 and one in five men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Dr. Stern:So somebody who has osteoporosis could potentially suffer down the road with vertebrae…a back fracture or hip fracture….and hip fractures have a significant amount of morbidity, of problems that happen afterwards including an increased risk for men after a hip fracture.
Charles Fishburne: Osteoporosis literally means porous bones…here’s a section of a normal bone…and here is one osteoporosis…almost undetectable on the outside…until it breaks.
Dr. Stern: So what we are trying to do is find people at highest risk for fractures…to find those folks with osteoporosis, and try to offer them appropriate treatment to lower the fracture risk.
Charles Fishburne: Who exactly is at risk?
Dr. Stern: The risk tends to increase with age…one of the most potent risk factor for osteoporosis is going to be each decade of life. Women tend to have an overall higher risk than men, but men are also at risk for fracture and tend to have a worse outcome for fractures, particularly hip fractures as we had mentioned.
Charles Fishburne: Osteoporosis is serious enough to have a day…October 20…to make us all aware that a simple bone fracture could be a wake-up call, that a bone density scan might be in order, and that prevention and treatment is available.
Dr. Stern: A very small percentage of people, even after suffering hip fracture are likely to have either a bone density scan or even be treated for osteoporosis or even be told they have osteoporosis, after a hip fracture. So it is the equivalent of somebody having a heart attack and not be tested for high blood pressure or high cholesterol. People end up having to go to nursing facilities…or lowering their level of independence after a fracture. Our goal for our population, as the population ages, so be to be home or in a place that keeps gainful and happy and functional. And identifying those folks at fracture risk, treating them when necessary, making sure they know how to best care for themselves…that’s what we need to be doing.