“Wear white on October 20 and embrace better bone health”
World Osteoporosis Day is happening a week today, on Monday (20th October). The day, which takes place on the same date every year, is dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. It is organised by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) who work closely with a number of global and national osteoporosis patient societies to put on a wide range of activities and events in over 90 countries.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, increasing their fragility and brittleness, making them more susceptible to breaks. It affects approximately three million people in the UK, 300,000 of which are treated at hospital each year for “fragility fractures” – fractures that occur from very small falls and the result of osteoporosis. The most common breakages occur in the wrist, hip and back, but can also affect the arms, ribs and pelvis.
Osteoporosis affects people of all ages. It is a condition that can be dictated by your genetic make-up, but lifestyle factors also have an important role to play in determining the health and strength of your bones. Because of this, there are some people who are more at risk of developing osteoporosis than others. They include:
- People who are housebound or particularly frail
- People with a poor diet
- People who keep covered up in sunlight because they wear total sun block or adhere to a certain dress code
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?
You can help keep your bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis by exercising regularly, keeping your weight in check and eating a balanced diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D. Foods which contain a high content of calcium include leafy green vegetables, like kale and spinach, dried fruit, tofu and yoghurt. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and is found in oily fish like mackerel, tuna and sardines, eggs and milk. The sun also helps the body to produce vitamin D, so providing you use the correct factor sunscreen and don’t spend too long in direct sunlight, it’s a great idea to get outside too.
How Can I Get Involved In Osteoporosis Day?
There are number of ways you can participate and do your bit to support and raise awareness of osteoporosis prevention. These include:
- Becoming a member of the IOF to receive their “Love Your Bones” e-newsletter once a month. The newsletter is full of helpful articles, which will expand your knowledge of the condition, as well as recipes and lifestyle tips for healthy and happy bones.
- Downloading World Osteoporosis Day resources to give out or send around your place of work, your local community or to your friends and family.
- Telling your story. If you have osteoporosis yourself, then the IOF wants to hear from you! You can share your story by emailing [email protected] and telling them all about what you are doing to take better care of your bones and prevent fractures. The IOF will use your story to help others all over the world by posting it on the Patient Stories section of their website.
- Wearing white. You can wear white on Monday 20th October to help spread awareness. Why not take a selfie or photo of those doing it with you and post it to social media using the hashtag #LoveYourBones?
- Organising an event. This is the perfect opportunity to give out resources and make as many people aware of what osteoporosis is and how it can be prevented. The Osteoporosis Website has a downloadable toolkit to help you, and you can also register your event to ensure maximum exposure.