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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common condition with an estimated 1.2 million people diagnosed in Australia and a further 6.3 million people with low bone density.  This disease makes bones more brittle leading to a higher risk of fractures than healthy bones. The condition is caused when the bones lose calcium more quickly than the body can replace them leading to a loss of bone thickness and density. Osteoporosis has no symptoms until a fracture occurs. Can occur in any bone, but is commonly found in the wrist, spine and hip.  Fractures in the spine – known as wedge fractures occur in the elderly as a result of osteoporosis can result in height loss and changes in posture.

Risk Factors


• Family history of condition (hip fracture in a parent)
– Breast Cancer treated with Aromatase Inhibitors or Tamoxifen
– Prostate Cancer treated with Androgen Deprivation Therapy
• Medications that affect bone strength
• Experienced a broken bone after a minor bump or fall
– Steroid use for longer than 3 months (tablets or high-dose puffers)
• Low testosterone levels in men
• Coeliac Disease
• Hyperthyroidism or Hyperparathyroidism
• Chronic kidney or liver disease
• Low vitamin D levels

Preventing Falls:

Preventing Falls
For people with osteoporosis, preventing falls is vitally important as even a minor fall may cause a bone fracture.
Falls are most commonly caused by:

  • Poor muscle strength
  • Poor balance
  • Poor vision
  • Hazards around the home

Reducing Falls Risk:

  • GP medical review and management
  • Exercise to strengthen muscles and improve balance
  • Improve nutrition

Role of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists can help with exercises to:

  • Improve muscle strength, balance and flexibility
  • Improve bone density and
  • Reduce rate of bone density loss
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Improve physical fitness
  • Improve reaction time
  • Improve mobility
  • Reduce risk of falls

Reference:
Osteoporosis Australia website: www.osteoporosis.org.au