Osteoporosis – weight, calcium and more

Osteoporosis affects at least 2 million Canadians and is often considered a women’s condition, but one-third of all cases are in men.

And, men suffer a higher mortality rate after a hip fracture than women: 37% die within 12 months versus 20% of women! Medical authorities believe men ignore their risk for osteoporosis and delay seeking medical intervention until the condition is well-advanced. The fact is, 1 in 5 men over 50 years of age will have a fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.

Happiness & bone density!

More research is looking at ͞happiness͟ as a risk factor for health – or, more accurately, lack of happiness! Now, positive assessments of well-being have been associated with stronger bones. An analysis of more than 2000 women over 10 years found that those who rated life as satisfying on a 4-point scale had more bone density, both at baseline and the end of the study. They also had less morbidity and used less medications than the dissatisfied group!

Weight – find the balance

Both weight loss AND weight gain have been associated with osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. In a review of over 120,000 post-menopausal women, weight changes of more than 5% were considered. Unintentional weight loss increased the risk of hip and spine fractures, while intentional weight loss seemed to decrease hip fractures but increase lower limb fracture. Weight gain was associated with an increased risk of upper and lower limb fractures. Interesting!

More on calcium use

Recent evidence has suggested a need to be more cautious in calcium supplementation due to possible kidney stones or cardiac issues, but now a systematic review is questioning calcium guidelines – both from supplements and dietary sources. The findings suggest that the current recommendation of 1200mg/day does not have any effect on bone density or fracture risk. No one is suggesting changes just yet, though, as the results were not universal. Stay tuned!

November is Osteoporosis Awareness Month. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density that increases the risk of debilitating bone fractures. Talk to your pharmacist about what you can do to improve your bone health.