Women urged to get proactive about bone health

Focus on ‘silent disease’ osteoporosis

Ahead of Mother’s Day, women are being urged to learn more about their bone health by taking a simple test online.

According to the Irish Osteoporosis Society (IOS), chronic conditions such as osteoporosis have been “overlooked” during the COVID-19 pandemic and all women, especially those over the age of 65, need to get proactive about their bone health.

With osteoporosis, bones become weak and can easily break. Those with the condition can fracture a bone after only a minor fall, or even from sneezing or bending to tie a shoelace. Such fractures can have life-changing consequences for some. For example, research indicates that one-fifth of women die within 12 months of breaking their hip.

However, a person may have no signs or symptoms of osteoporosis, which is why it is often referred to as a silent disease.

While the condition can affect both men and women, it is more common in women, particularly after the menopause, when women’s oestrogen levels drop, leading to bone loss. The IOS is highlighting this issue ahead of Mother’s Day on March 14 and it is encouraging women to take its online risk check here.

“Getting proactive with bone health is crucial. In order to manage osteoporosis properly, early diagnosis and ongoing treatment is key. Taking the osteoporosis risk test for bone loss is the first step to determine if you are at risk,” explained founder and president of the IOS, Prof Moira O’Brien.

She noted that around one-third of women over the age of 50 will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis. A major cause of bone loss is when a woman’s oestrogen levels decline due to the menopause.

“Painful broken bones can significantly impair your daily activities and as we know can even lead to death, not to mention the impact it can have on the entire family on an emotional level seeing their loved one lose their independence. Educating yourself and speaking with family members about the disease can save lives,” Prof O’Brien said.

TV presenter, Mary Kennedy, advocates on behalf of the IOS and she admits she never gave much thought to her bone health until she learned about the risks, particularly to women over the age of 65.

“When speaking with my family about the condition and the impact it can have on people’s lives, they were also surprised. If we have one conversation this Mother’s Day, it should be about the importance of bone health and the risk of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is treatable and broken bones can be prevented. It is so important to be proactive about bone disease, so talk to your mother or grandmother about it,” she urged.

The bone risk test can be taken here.