The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is celebrating May’s National Osteoporosis Month to put the spotlight on the importance of maintaining good bone health. NOF’s call to action to Break Free from Osteoporosis is an awareness and educational initiative to help the public learn more about building bone strength and preventing fractures.
Osteoporosis is referred to as a “silent disease” because one can’t feel bones weakening. But, breaking a bone is often the first sign of the medical condition or a patient may notice he or she is getting shorter or their upper back is curving.
According to the NOF, about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at extreme risk for the serious medical condition. Approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and over will break a bone, most likely to occur in the hip, spine, or wrist, but other bones can also break.
NAF notes that Osteoporosis may limit one’s mobility, oftentimes leading to a feeling of isolation or depression. Twenty percent of seniors who break a hp die within one year from either medical complications related to the broken bone or from the surgery to repair it. Many of these patients will require long-term nursing home care.
Learning the Facts
“Osteoporosis is responsible for two million broken bones every year [with an estimated cost of $19 billion in related costs] in the U.S. and causes 75,000 deaths, yet too many people neglect their bone health until after they suffer a debilitating fracture,” said Elizabeth Thompson, CEO, National Osteoporosis Foundation, in a statement announcing May’s designation as National Osteoporosis Month. “We’re encouraging everyone to get active, follow a bone healthy diet and learn the facts about osteoporosis treatment to prevent fractures and the pain and suffering that results.”
By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately three million fractures, costing $25.3 billion annually, says NAF.
At any age you can prevent weakened bones. You can eat foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Also, make time to regularly do weight-bearing exercise, such as weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis and dancing.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, avoid twisting your spine or bending forward from the waist (by doing sit-ups, toe touches or even swinging a golf club).
Taking the Challenge
During May, NOF is continuing its fundraiser, Jumping Jack Challenge, to raise the awareness about Osteoporosis. Residents (with medical permission), family and employees of West View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center can take the challenge. Just film yourself doing 10 jumping jacks in less than 10 seconds. Then, post the video to social media, tagging your friends and asking them to join you in taking the Jumping Jack Challenge. If they don’t accept the challenge, ask that they donate to NOF to support bone health research.
Be sure to “like” or “follow” NOF and tag @NationalOsteoporosisFoundation to help raise awareness for the challenge.
Jumping Jacks are a great activity to help young people build bone and reach peak bone mass, which is usually attained by our early 20s. For those age 50 and over able to safely do jumping jacks, it’s a great exercise to help maintain bone strength. Those who can’t or shouldn’t jump can easily participate in the Jumping Jack Challenge by doing “stepping jacks.”
On May 30th at noon (Eastern), NOF is hosting a nutrition webinar to answer frequently asked questions about a bone healthy diet. For National Osteoporosis Month, NOF will also debut two new digital whiteboards with information about calcium and vitamin D. These animated videos are available on NOF.org and make great pass along tools to spread the word about the important role calcium and vitamin D play in building and maintaining bone strength at every age.
In addition, NOF has published a new Safe Movement booklet in English and Spanish. And, by watching NOF’s new risk assessment video, osteoporosis patients and their healthcare providers can learn about weighing the risk of fracture versus the risk of osteoporosis treatment rare side effects. Both tools will be available from the NOF website for viewing and sharing.
Visit NOF.org for these free, downloadable resources you can pass along and share to help everyone Break Free from Osteoporosis this May for National Osteoporosis Month.