I’ll go first. Prior to working on this campaign, I knew absolutely nothing about osteoporosis. That’s not entirely true, I guess, because I had always assumed that it was a disease that only affected older people. While I was technically correct in my assumption that osteoporosis has a stronger effect on the 50+ crowd, I was unaware that taking small preventative measures in my 30’s could help me avoid this disease down the road.
Why Should You Care?
Did you know that one in three Canadian women and one in five Canadian men will break a bone because of osteoporosis? Each year in Canada, broken bones caused by osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined for women over the age of 50 years of age. Despite the severity and prevalence of osteoporosis, a recent survey from Osteoporosis Canada, in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart, reveals startling gaps in Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of the disease. The survey results show that half of those in their 30s don’t know the facts about osteoporosis and how to reduce their risk of developing this disease.
Additional results and statistics include:
• By 2035, it is estimated that almost 42,000 individuals will experience a broken hip per year, meaning that those in their 30s and 40s now are at risk
• 1.4 million Canadians have osteoporosis however, only five per cent of respondents rated themselves as knowledgeable about the disease.
• When asked about key facts of the disease, the majority of Canadians admitted they are not aware of seven of the eight key facts about osteoporosis and complications that are related to the disease
• Although guidelines recommend consumption of 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day, most women fail to reach this level with their dietary intake – many only getting 300 mg/day.
• In Canada, among people over 50 years old, 80 per cent of broken bones are caused by osteoporosis, while 80 per cent of Canadians who break a bone as a result of osteoporosis are never diagnosed with osteoporosis.
• As of 2010, the overall yearly cost to the Canadian healthcare system for treating osteoporosis and the fractures it causes was over $2.3 billion.
What Can You Do About It?
I promise that I’m not trying to scare you. I was just as surprised as anyone else to know how common osteoporosis becomes later in life and as someone who already lives with back and hip pain; this is something I am taking very seriously. It is highly recommended that everyone over 30 speak to a health care professional about osteoporosis and the steps they can take to protect themselves.
If you don’t feel like making a doctor’s appointment, as part of an effort to promote better bone health for Canadians, Osteoporosis Canada has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart/PharmaPrix, whose pharmacists are equipped to provide education and advice to patients about osteoporosis management and reducing the risk. All you have to do is stop by your local Shoppers Drug Mart and ask any questions you may have.
I’m telling you, it’s never too early to start thinking about bone health and there are easy steps that you can take, at every age, to help prevent osteoporosis. Ensuring your diet is rich with calcium and vitamin D and adding regular exercise to your daily or weekly routine will help build bone strength and can make a difference in prevention of osteoporosis and fractures. I mean, if something this bad can be prevented, don’t you think we should put in the work?
Visit your Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist today or visit www.osteoporosis.ca for more information about osteoporosis prevention and maintenance for better bone health!
Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program but that doesn’t change the fact that osteoporosis is a very real and very dangerous disease that you should take seriously.