WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?

Two-thirds of Australians over 50 are at increased risk of breaking bones from osteoporosis or osteopenia.1,2

Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that weakens bones over time, making them more likely to break.2,3

It’s often called the ‘silent disease’ because there are usually no signs or pain until the first break.2

Normal bone

Image from European Calcified Tissue Society © Tim Arnett, University College London

Strong bones

Bones give our bodies structure. They enable you to move, and provide protection for your vital organs. Throughout your life, bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. This is an ongoing process and keeps our bones strong.

Osteoporotic bone

Image from European Calcified Tissue Society © Tim Arnett, University College London

Weaken as you age

As you age (or reach menopause for women), sex hormone levels fall causing your bones to lose minerals, such as calcium, leading to a loss of bone thickness (bone mass and density). If you have osteoporosis, your bones break down more quickly than your body can rebuild them.

Broken bone

And can break and break again

The first stage, where bones are weaker than normal, is called osteopenia. Over time, your bones gradually lose strength and structure, so they can break more easily. This is called osteoporosis. Your bones may become so weak that they break from a minor bump or accident.

Are your bones at risk?

The first stage of bone loss is called osteopenia, which affects more than 6.3 million Australians.1

Men get osteoporosis too

30% of fractures related to osteoporosis and osteopenia occur in men.1

Mary, aged 67*

“I fell in the garden at home and broken my wrist. It stopped me doing lots of the things I enjoy for weeks and weeks. I didn’t know that it increased my risk of further fractures 2-4 times.”

* Mary is a fictitious patient.

A major step toward helping to strengthen your bones is understanding your fracture risk – talk to your doctor today.

This tool has been independently created by Osteoporosis Australia and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to assess bone health online. Complete the 5-minute assessment and take the report to your doctor for further discussion.

References:

1. Watts JJ, et al. Osteoporosis costing all Australians: A new burden of disease analysis – 2012 to 2022. 2013. www.osteoporosis.org.au. 2. Osteoporosis Australia. What you need to know about osteoporosis. Consumer guide. 2017. www.osteoporosis.org.au. 3. Strom O, et al. Arch Osteoporos 2011;6:59–155.

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