Doha, 20 October 2021:Today 20 October is World Osteoporosis Day 2021 and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is joining the international community to raise awareness of osteoporosis under the theme: “Take Action for Bone Health” to encourage the public to be aware of their bone health by knowing the risk factors for developing osteoporosis and bone fractures.
“Osteoporosis is a disease which makes bones weak and fragile. This greatly increases the risk of breaking a bone even after a minor fall or bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement. The disease has no obvious symptoms, so many people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture. Fractures can be life-altering, causing pain, disability and loss of independence. That’s why it’s important to prevent the disease from happening by raising awareness,” explains Dr. Samar Al Emadi, Head of Rheumatology Division at HMC.
She notes that osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bone’ - a condition where bones become thin and lose their strength, as they become less dense and their quality is reduced. “This thinning of bone can lead to broken bones, which cause pain, disability, and make everyday activities extremely difficult,” she notes.
“Our bones are living tissue that give the body structure and allows us to move and protect our organs. When the bones become porous and fragile, they cause great increase in the risk of having painful, and often disabling, broken bones (known as fragility fractures). Throughout life, bone is constantly being renewed, with new bone replacing old bone and this helps to keep our skeleton strong. But for people with osteoporosis, more and more bone is lost and not replaced. This means that the bones gradually become brittle and more likely to break,” explains Dr. Al Emadi.
She states that due to the fact that osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’, most people don’t know they have the disease until they suffer a broken bone from a minor fall or bump – something that would not normally have caused such a drastic injury. “In fact, even after breaking a bone, around 80% of patients are still not diagnosed and treated for osteoporosis, the underlying disease which has caused the fracture,” she says.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), around the world, one in three women and one in five men over the age of fifty will suffer a broken bone due to osteoporosis and that fractures caused by osteoporosis can be life-threatening and a major cause of pain and long-term disability
“Commenting on World Osteoporosis Day activities at HMC, Dr. Al Emadi says the marking of the day on 20 October is a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases and also aims to put bone health and fracture prevention on the global health agenda.
“Currently, osteoporosis is vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated due to lack of awareness and late diagnosis. Worldwide, millions of people at high risk of broken bones (fractures) remain unaware of the underlying silent disease. The huge human and socioeconomic cost, and severe impact of fractures on patients’ independence, is underestimated. The WOD annual campaign is a unique occasion when individuals and organizations around the world all unite to put the spotlight on the disease and its burden,” she highlights.
She says World Osteoporosis Day 2021 activities at HMC will focus on the need to take action for osteoporosis and fracture prevention. “We will seek to engage the public and patients, encouraging specific actions that lead to better bone health at all stages of life, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in adulthood,” adds Dr. Al Emadi.