Calling all ‘Real Men’ – fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, uncles, partners, mates – listen up! Have you thought about your bones lately? You know, the strong ones in your skeleton that make it possible for you to do all those ‘real men’ things like play cricket with your kids, hug your wife, take your grandkids to the beach or walk to the letter box for the morning paper?
On 20th October, we’re encouraging all Australians, but especially men, to ‘build strength from within’ in recognition of World Osteoporosis Day. Over 1.2 million Australians suffer from Osteoporosis and a quarter of them are men!
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the density of your bones; stored minerals such as calcium are depleted before the body has a chance to replace them, leading to a loss of bone thickness and making bones brittle. Osteoporosis may make you more prone to fractures, especially in the hip, wrist and spine, which can take a long time to heal and be debilitating.
Ask an Expert
We spoke to Gail Morgan, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia, to bust some myths around the condition in the lead up to World Osteoporosis Day.
According to Gail, osteoporosis is often seen as a women’s disease, which is far from the truth.
“Around a quarter of people suffering from this chronic disease are men – than means around 250,000 Australian men have osteoporosis. As men live longer, we will see more and more men with the disease so we need to talk to men about how to prevent, manage and treat it.”
Which is where this year’s World Osteoporosis Day theme comes in. ‘Real Men Build Strength from Within’ encourages all men to spare a thought for their bone health on October 20th.
Osteoporosis can be debilitating but the best treatment, according to Gail, is prevention.
“The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to look after your bone health throughout life. It is really important younger men build up their bone strength through getting enough calcium, safe sun exposure and weight bearing exercise. Prevention is always better than cure. Men also need to watch their intake of alcohol and eat healthy. Other risk factors are family history and smoking.”
Raising Awareness of ‘The Silent Disease’
It’s time for some cold, hard facts:
One in five men over 50 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis. Common fractures include hip fractures, which can be debilitating. One third of the world’s hip fractures occur in men and men are twice as likely to die following a hip fracture as women. Additionally, 10 – 20% of men who sustain a hip fracture will need long-term nursing care following the incident.
Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because you don’t you know have it until you break a bone. But Healthy Bones Australia wants to put a stop to the silence with their awareness campaign Scream for Halloween, which raises funds for awareness campaigns and important research into Osteoporosis.
So on October 20th, we encourage you to Scream for Halloween and educate the ‘real men’ in your life about building strength from within and the importance of bone health.
For more tips on prevention and management, visit Osteoporosis Australia or visit your GP.