Over-50s' osteoporosis 'causes fracture every two minutes'

Osteoporotic bone Osteoporotic bones are weaker and prone to breaks

Bone fractures caused by osteoporosis occur once every two minutes in the UK among the over-50s, figures reveal.

One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 suffer such fractures, says the National Osteoporosis Society.

Usually, no symptoms precede the first fracture, often caused by a minor fall.

And the charity found a fifth of female patients surveyed had not been diagnosed with the condition until they had had three or more broken bones.

Are you at risk?

If you answered: "Yes," to more than one of these questions, then you may be more at risk of developing osteoporosis:

  • Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with osteoporosis?
  • Have you ever broken a bone after a minor bump or fall?
  • Are you female and aged over 50?
  • Do you drink more than three units of alcohol a day?
  • Do you miss out on summer sunlight (through being housebound, avoiding the sun, always covering your skin or wearing sunscreen)?
  • Do you miss out on doing at least 30 minutes of activity five times a week?

Source: National Osteoporosis Society

One in 10 of these said they had never discussed osteoporosis or bone health with the medical professionals treating their fractures.

After the first break, one in eight people will go on to break another bone within a year and one in five will have another fracture within five years.

To help keep your bones healthy:

  • stop smoking
  • cut down on alcohol
  • do more exercise
  • eat a healthy diet containing calcium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables and dairy products

Claire Severgnini, chief executive of the National Osteoporosis Society, said: "Those who are most vulnerable to osteoporosis and fragility fractures are often not aware of the condition or don't recognise the signs that they are at risk.

"The condition can have a huge impact on your quality of life, creating unnecessary months of difficulty with everything from daily tasks such as getting washed in the morning, to driving and even enjoying time with loved ones."

About three million people in the UK have osteoporosis.

Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis than men. This is because changes in hormone levels with the menopause can affect bone density.

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