One woman in every four who fractures a hip never comes out of hospital – she dies there. Osteoporosis can be fatal.
Osteoporosis, or brittle bones, causes a fracture every two minutes in women over the age of 50, despite the good work of the National Osteoporosis Society.
Worse still, the organisation’s report reveals that one in five women has to suffer three fractures before their brittle bones is diagnosed – not surprising, given that, after the menopause, a woman can lose a whopping one-third of her bone in three years.
And one woman in every four who fractures a hip never comes out of hospital, she dies there. Osteoporosis is a potentially fatal disease.
The latest report from the National Osteoporosis Society emphasises the unnecessary suffering that women are experiencing. It makes painful reading.
In a poll of 1,551 people across Britain, including 972 women aged 50-70 who had broken bones, the charity found GPs and hospital staff often fail to follow up those at risk.
In total, one in eight of those who had more than three broken bones said that they had never discussed osteoporosis with the doctors treating their fractures.
About 2.3 million women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, which the poll found incapacitates them for an average of 40 days for every fracture.
It showed broken bones cause significant problems, so more than half find it difficult to drive; almost half have difficulties with housework; almost a third struggle to wash themselves; a quarter find it difficult to cook for themselves; and one in 10 says they are unable to see friends and family.
The society, which recently launched its Stop At One campaign to ensure sufferers are diagnosed more quickly, said at least half of women and a fifth of men over 50 are at risk of a break.
The trouble is osteoporosis is the “silent disease” because there are no symptoms prior to a fracture. However, once a person has broken a bone, their risk of breaking another – a fragility fracture – increases significantly. Around 300,000 fragility fractures occur every year in the UK, often in the spine.
After the first break, one in eight will break another bone within a year and a quarter within five years.
Some 89,000 hip fractures a year are linked to osteoporosis, which cost the UK £6million a day.
If the condition remains undiagnosed, people are unable to take steps to protect themselves.
Here are some safeguards you can take for yourself: stop smoking; drink only moderately; walk 30 minutes every day; eat dairy, fatty fish, dark green leaves and green vegetables.