In Australia 66% of adults over the age of 50 have low bone density. Experts estimate that over the next 10 years this will lead to approximately 1.6 million fractures in Australia, with related costs nearing 35 billion dollars. In 2006 the Geelong Osteoporosis Study found that approximately 23% of women and 6% of men between years of 50-70 had osteoporosis. These already staggering numbers increase to 43% of women and 13% of men for individuals over 70 years of age.
For those of you who have know someone who has been hospitalized with a hip fracture, you know that this is an extremely serious problem. The fracture and subsequent complications can often lead to a loss of independence or death. The good news is that there is plenty a person can do to reduce their risks.
I once heard an expert say that Osteoporosis its a pediatric condition that manifests in the geriatric population. Evidence shows that peak bone density is reached by approximately 30 years of age. The more bone you produce in your younger years the more you can afford to lose in your later years before it becomes a problem. Bone density in young people is predominantly built through good nutrition and plenty of exercise.
But don’t stress, its not all down hill once you reach 30! Research has shown that through specific and targeted exercises it is still possible to increase bone density in older adults. There is lots of evidence to show that people who are physically active can significantly reduce their risk of fractures. Hip fractures have been found to be as much as 38-45% lower in older adults who have been physically active in their daily life, compared to less active people.
Just like with medication, exercise needs to be the right type at the right dosage. Not all exercise will help improve your bone density and the wrong type may even be harmful. Speak to your local Exercise Physiologist for an individualized evidence based program to help you achieve your best possible bone health.