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What is Osteoporosis?

Do you know what this condition involves?

Who is at risk of developing osteoporosis?

How can an osteopath help you?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone becomes more porous, losing strength and becoming more likely to fracture.

Osteoporosis affects over 3 million people in the UK. More than 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures (bones that break after falling from standing height or less) every year as a result of osteoporosis.

It is sometimes confused with osteoarthritis, which is a totally different condition. Your osteopath cannot cure osteoporosis, however the team at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic can help you make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your risk of fracture.

Osteopenia is the stage before osteoporosis, when the bone is becoming less dense but does not yet qualify as osteoporosis.

Diagnosing Osteoporosis

A DEXA scan is essentially an x-ray done to measure the severity of suspected osteoporosis or osteopenia. However there are tools that can give an idea of a person’s risk of fracture without a scan. The one that the NHS recommends is FRAX: Fracture Risk Assessment Tool. This is an online calculation tool which shows the probability of fracture. The FRAX tool takes into account some of the major risk factors for osteoporosis, such as age, sex, weight, and smoking.

Who is at risk of developing Osteoporosis?

Typically, post-menopausal women are more at risk of osteoporosis than the general population, but there are other risk factors within your control too. Weight bearing exercise strengthens bones, and a good diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D is important.

Other conditions increase a person’s risk of fracture: Type 1 Diabetes, overactive thyroid, and the use of steroids also reduce bone density. Improving the lifestyle risk factors is particularly important for these people. Doctors can prescribe medication to help improve bone density when appropriate.

As many fractures are a result of falls, it is always worth improving balance. Weight bearing exercise will go a way towards improving this, and your osteopath can help with specific exercises too. You can still be treated for another condition if you have osteoporosis.

Do you have questions about Osteoporosis?

As well as treating injuries and alleviating pain, the team at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic is here to offer you great advice for day-to-day lifestyle. This includes  minimising the risk of conditions such as Osteoporosis. How can we help you?

This article was written by Freya Gilmore, a Registered Osteopath within the Shefford Osteopathic Clinic team.