According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, by the year 2050, the world wide incidence of hip fracture in men is project to increase by 310% and by 240% in women. These astonishing numbers are driven by urbanization and aging populations increasing across the globe.
Unfortunately, the majority of potential fracture patients are missed by the healthcare system, yet, osteoporosis accounts for more days in the hospital than breast cancer, heart attack, diabetes and other diseases.
In fact, one in five women with a spinal fracture will suffer another one within a year, meaning that fractures can become a pattern over a lifetime. Why is this dangerous? In addition to the pain and costs, loss of independence is a real issues. Approximately 60% of people who have a hip fracture require assistance a year later, and 205 will require long-term nursing care.
And less you think that this is women’s disease, note the massive increase in hip fracture projected for men – 310%. This means one in five men worldwide.
What can you? Understand your risks:
• Do you have a family history of breaks?
• Have you had a bone break after the age of 50?
• Do you smoke?
• Drink too much alcohol?
• Do you eat a healthy diet that includes calcium containing foods?
• Do you know your vitamin D level?
• Are you a post-menopausal woman?
• Do you exercise regularly?
• Are you small, thin, or underweight?
The National Institutes of Health offer some tips for preventing falls indoors:
• Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors.
• Use plastic or carpet runners on slippery floors.
• Wear low-heeled shoes that provide good support.
• Add more lights to rooms.
• Keep a flashlight next to your bed.
• Keep a mobile phone with you so you don’t have to rush to the phone when it rings.
Also, make sure you are screened for osteoporosis risk, and review your medications with your physician as some can contribute to bone loss. Get plenty of exercise, including some outdoor time so you can get some Vitamin D. If you do not get enough sun, make sure to ask your doctor about Vitamin D supplements, and mix in bone healthy foods to your diet. The National Osteoporosis Foundation has some good recipes.
Prevention is the best way to spot the signs of a breaking spine, and the best way to keep healthy, out of the hospital, and independent.