Approximately 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 in the UK will suffer an osteoporosis related fracture during their lifetime.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a common condition where bones become weaker and more prone to fracture.
Bone density and bone strength decreases during adulthood, but the rate of decrease can be affected by several factors.
Am I at risk?
Osteoporosis is largely genetically determined. Patients with a strong family history of the condition are at increased risk of developing it themselves. There are however, a number of modifiable lifestyle risk factors which can be addressed to prevent osteoporosis or reduce the risk of fracture in people suffering from the disease.
Risk factors for osteoporotic fractures include:
- Aged over 50
- Family history
- Long term steroid use
- Early menopause
- Some cancer treatments
- Sedentary lifestyle
- People with increased risk of falling
Assessment and treatment
At St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, specialist physiotherapists provide an initial assessment and determine a treatment plan, depending on the severity of the condition and fracture risk.
Patients are divided into 3 general categories.
- Tier 1 – Preventing osteoporosis. For patients wishing to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures.
- Tier 2 – Patients at risk of fracture. For patients with a strong family history or those with increased risk due to other conditions or medications.
- Tier 3 – Patients with osteoporosis. For patients who have been diagnosed with the condition, who may or may not have had a fracture.
For patients who have suffered a fracture due to osteoporosis, careful rehabilitation programmes are designed by physiotherapists with expertise in managing patients with fragile bones.
Our osteoporosis physiotherapists develop exercise programmes appropriate to the individual, to help strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of falling. Carefully monitored weight-bearing exercise can increase bone density, while improved core strength helps reduce the likelihood of falls.
The physiotherapy team refer patients when appropriate to additional services within the hospital including imaging, rheumatology, orthopaedics, podiatry and dietetics.