WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone tissue is reduced, thus increasing the risk of fracture which usually
involves the hip, spine or writst. One out of every three westernised postmenopausal woman will have a spinal
fracture due to osteoporosis. Up to 20% of hip fracture victums die within a year. The fracture rate in both
females and males has increased significantly in the past decade. Osteoporosis causes no pain or discomfort
until fractures occur and has been called "the silent epidemic"
ARE YOU AT RISK?
The following may suggest that you are at risk:
* early menopause (before 45years)
* other causes of low sex hormone levels in men and woman
* longterm cortisone use
* previous fracture after minimal trauma
* alcohol or tobacco abuse
* certain hormonal, intestinal or malignant diseases
* thin framed individuals with a strong family history of osteoporosis
* malnutrition and poor calcium intake
Many individuals without risk factors may still develop osteoprosis. A bone density measurement (using a
bone denistometer) is currently the best predictor of fractures. Although useful to detect fractures, up to 40%
of bone tissue must be lost before this is revealed by routine X-rays.
OSTEOPOROSIS CAN BE TREATED - PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Preventative measures aim to stimulate bone formation and to reduce excessive bone loss. There are four main
areas in which you can help maintain healthy bones:
* balanced diet, rich in calcium and dairy products; calcium supplements
* regular exercise, preferably weightbearing
* stop smoking
* decrease alcohol intake
Lifestyl measures and calcium supplementation are often not sufficient to prevent osteoporosis. Furtunately,
specific pharmacological drugs (e.g. bisphosphonates, teriparatide, strontium ranelate) are available to prevent
and treat osteoporosis.
THE NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION
was established in 1993 to:
1. Propagate public awareness and heighten knowledge of osteoporosis.
2. Provide help and support for sufferers of osteoporosis through:
* comprehensive patient brochure(s)
* medically approved advice
* personal replies to letters
* telephone help line
* update through regular newsletters
* low cost membership
3. Educate doctors an allied health professionals about osteoporosis, its prevention and management.
4. Promote and support research in osteoporosis
As an independent organisation with its own administrative staff and medical advisors, the National
Osteoporosis Foundation relies on your donations to carry out its work.
For further information, contact the:
National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa
PO Box 481
Cape, South Africa
Tel: (021) 931 7894
Fax: (021) 931 7075
Helpline:086 110 2265