Doha, 19 October 2022: On the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day (WOD 2022), Hamad Medical Corporation’s Rheumatology Department is asking the public to be aware and step up for their bone health as it is today again raising awareness of osteoporosis – a silent disease that is vastly underdiagnosed and undertreated.
The occasion being observed globally under a new theme this year: “Step Up for Bone Health” is an opportunity to educate the public about risk factors of osteoporosis and to encourage them to be aware of their bone health and be physically active to prevent the disease. The department will host a community engagement activity at Hamad General Hospital on 20 October from 8am to 2pm to offer vital information about osteoporosis to the hospital visitors.
“A bone-healthy lifestyle is vital for strong bones and a fracture-free future. This is why for the WOD 2022 campaign, we are aligning with key messages from the International Federation for Osteoporosis (IOF) urging the public, to ‘step up for bone health.’ The IOF is also emphasizing the important role of targeted exercise programs and bone-health diet. Our campaign locally is also targeted at healthcare professionals as we urge them too to ‘step up’ by ensuring that people at fracture risk have timely access to diagnosis and treatment,” explains Dr. Samar Al Emadi, Head of Rheumatology Department.
The IOF literally describes osteoporosis as ‘porous bone’. It says it is a condition where bones become thin and lose their strength as they become less dense and their quality is reduced. This can lead to broken bones, which cause pain and disability. Broken bones due to osteoporosis can be life-changing, with a serious impact on quality of life, mobility, and independence. Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because most people don’t know they have the disorder until they break a bone after a minor fall or bump (known as a fragility fracture).
“According to the 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. Dr. Al Emadi notes.
She states that the marking of the WOD on 20 October is a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and also aims to put bone health and fracture prevention on the global health agenda.
“Worldwide, millions of people at high risk of broken bones (fractures) remain unaware because osteoporosis - the underlying silent disease is vastly underdiagnosed and undertreated. Some of the important risk factors of osteoporosis are older age, family history of osteoporosis, certain diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis), long-term use of glucocorticoids and some other medications, early menopause, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake and low body mass index, Dr. Al Emad stated.
She emphasized that it is important for any one at risk of osteoporosis to ask for a bone health assessment or take the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check at https://riskcheck.osteoporosis.foundation/. If you’ve broken any bone after a minor fall from standing height, this could be a sign of osteoporosis. Be sure to ask your doctor for testing and treatment - one broken bone is a warning of more to come.
According to her, osteoporosis can be prevented by doing the following:
- Increasing your levels of physical activity.
- Ensuring a bone-healthy diet! A bone-healthy diet is a balanced diet with adequate intake of calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin K and other nutrients.
- Avoiding bone damaging habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and high or low body mass index.
- Knowing one’s risks through awareness and education.
- Preventing recurrent fracture by talking to a doctor (after breaking a bone) and asking for assessment and treatment to prevent further fractures.
- Not ignoring back pain, height loss and/or curved back (kyphosis) – as any of these can be signs of vertebral fractures.