Osteoporosis – the facts

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  • Osteoporosis has often been called the ‘silent epidemic’, because there are almost no symptoms until you suffer a fracture.

    And it affects far more women that many people realise. Women are at greater risk than men, because they lose oestrogen after the menopause that protects against bone loss.

    The combined cost of hospital and social care for patients with a hip fracture amounts to more than £1.73 billion per year in the UK, almost as much as for heart conditions.

    Although osteoporosis itself can’t kill, it’s the problems linked with it that are more serious.

    The majority of women who experience a serious hip fracture say they would rather die than have to cope with the reduced quality of life that follows.

    By the time we are 25, our bone mass is as good as it’s going to get, so it’s vital that young people take positive healthy lifestyle steps to keep it as high as possible, and try to avoid problems later in life.

    Read more in-depth information about osteoporosis on goodtoknow, including the causes and symptoms of the condition

    For more support and facts about osteoporosis, check out the National Osteoporosis Society’s website

    Osteoporosis statistics

    * 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer a fracture after the age of 50
    * There are around 230,000 fractures every year in the UK
    * The UK population over 50 will increase from 20 million today to 25 million by 2020
    * As the population ages, the likelihood of osteoporosis will increase
    * Women are more likely to suffer a hip fracture than develop breast cancer
    * An alcohol intake of more than 2 units per day increases the risk of an osteoporotic fracture
    * A balanced diet provides all the vitamins and minerals needed to develop and maintain strong bones
    * Hip fractures cause more than 1150 premature deaths each month in the UK