World Osteoporosis Day Report 2015,
We don’t tend to think about our skeleton very much. But without a healthy skeleton, we can be in big trouble. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and fragile, so that they break easily, even as a result of a minor fall or a bump. Fractures caused by osteoporosis can be life-threatening and a major cause of pain and long-term disability. You only have to ask yourself if have you known someone who has broken their hip. If so, you know just how devastating osteoporosis can be. The good news is that osteoporosis can be diagnosed, prevented and treated.
People who have sustained a fracture as a result of a minor fall or injury
People taking certain types of medicines to control other medical conditions
People who are living with certain diseases
Anyone who has broken a bone after 50 years of age as a result of a fall or modest impact should ask their doctor whether osteoporosis might have caused that fracture. A number of medicines which play a critical role in managing other diseases can have a negative effect on bone health, including Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) for the treatment of breast cancer [e.g. Anastrozole (Arimidex), Letrozole (Femara), and Exemestane (Aromasin)]. Further, people living with certain other diseases should also think about their bone health as these can be associated with bone loss and fracture risk.
AIs currently represent the gold standard adjuvant treatment for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Women taking AIs experience elevated rates of bone loss as compared to healthy postmenopausal women. Accordingly, clinical guidelines relating to the prevention and treatment of AI-induced osteoporosis are available in many countries. In 2012, the European Society for Clinical and Economical Aspects of Osteoporosis (ESCEO) published guidance on prevention of bone loss and fractures in postmenopausal women treated with AIs.
Baseline assessment of bone health when AIs are initiated
General measures to prevent bone loss, including regular physical activity, as well as ensuring calcium and vitamin D sufficiency.
Osteoporosis treatment should be offered to the following groups:
Women aged 75 years and over, irrespective of their bone mineral density status
Postmenopausal women who have a history of fragility fracture or are deemed to be at high fracture risk on account of certain other risk factors
Significant progress has been made in New Zealand in recent years. In 2012, ONZ published BoneCare 2020, which called for a national effort to develop a systematic approach to hip fracture care and prevention. Implementation of this strategy is now well underway, with systems to prevent fragility fractures being implemented across the country and establishment of a NZ Hip Fracture Registry. In July, ACC announced a major investment aimed at reducing the number of falls and fractures older people suffer.
You can read more about this exciting Campaign at www.osteoporosis.org.nz and learn how to keep your bones healthy throughout life.