What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their strength and are more likely to break, usually following a minor bump or fall. Osteoporosis is sometimes called the ‘silent disease’, as there are usually no tell-tale symptoms to alert you to its presence early on in its progression. Although osteoporosis can affect any bone, fractures are mainly found in the wrist, hip and spine.
Osteoporosis is a progressive disease, which means it worsens over time.1 It cannot be cured but steps can be taken to either prevent the disease or slow down its progression.2
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
Osteoporosis is often diagnosed at the time of a fragility fracture. In the past, assessing bone density and fracture risk was difficult but with the help of tests such as a DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) – a bone mineral density scan, patients at risk can be recognised more easily.3
Whilst bone density scans are useful in identifying osteoporosis, they are expensive and do not always pick up everyone prone to fractures. Osentia® has been clinically proven to assess the risk of fragility fractures, a common sign that you may have osteoporosis, enabling early, long-term lifestyle changes to be made and earlier treatment to be administered. Discover your risk with our safe, accurate home-test that helps identify your risk of fragility fractures.
Who is at risk of osteoporosis?
Our bones start to age as we enter our mid-thirties and as a result one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture due to weakened bones. Unfortunately, broken bones or ‘fragility fractures’ are all too common, so adopting a healthier lifestyle early on may help minimise risk of fractures as we get older.4
Osteoporosis affects both men and women but it is more common in older people. As people age, bone loss increases gradually, which can lead to osteoporosis and risk of fragility fractures.5 People who have had one fracture are at greater risk of another – around 23% of secondary fractures occur within the first year.6
Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis due to the hormonal changes that occur through the menopause, which directly affects their bone density.7 Osteoporosis is a common condition, but currently around one third remain undiagnosed.8 It is also one of the main causes of hospital stays for women over the age of 45 ahead of diabetes, heart attacks and breast cancer,7 with many also suffering from depression and low quality of life as a result of their condition.7
As well as age, many other factors can determine your risk of suffering from a fragility fracture.
Can osteoporosis be prevented?
Introducing simple lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of fragility fractures and help maintain bone health. Combining a nutrient-rich diet of protein, fruit and vegetables with regular weight bearing exercises such as walking, jogging and Pilates and muscle strengthening exercises i.e. exercising with weights, can help maintain bone strength, reducing the risk of fragility fractures.
Sufficient intake of calcium, which can be found in milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, bread and nuts and vitamin D found in fish and eggs, is important for maintaining bone strength. The daily recommended allowance for adults is 700mg of calcium and 10mcg of vitamin D. If you have a diet deficient in vitamin D and calcium, supplements may be considered to meet the requirements for healthy bones,9,10 however this should be discussed with the pharmacist.
What causes osteoporosis?
Bone tissue is alive and constantly changes through life to ensure it remains as healthy as possible. In each bone, older, worn-out bone tissue is continually broken down and rebuilt in a process called ‘bone remodelling’.11 As we enter our mid-thirties, the difference between the amount of bone that is removed and the amount of bone that is renewed starts to get slightly out of balance as part of the ageing process. As a result, the total amount of bone tissue starts to decrease. This is often described as ‘bone loss’ or ‘bone thinning’. This change in the quality of your bones becomes more significant as you move into later life, which explains why bones become more fragile and fractures become more common in old age.11
How The Osentia® Test Can Help
Osentia® has been clinically proven to assess the risk of fragility fractures, a common sign that you may have osteoporosis, enabling early, long-term lifestyle changes to be made and earlier treatment to be administered.
This convenient test only needs a fingernail or toenail clipping, which will be sent to our laboratory for analysis, where it looks for changes in the nail structure, which correlate with your risk of developing osteoporosis.