Experts urge Aussies to “Know Your bones” this World Osteoporosis Day
New report released reveals under-investigation & under-treatment of osteoporosis in those at risk
Healthy Bones Australia has today released the second edition ‘Know Your Bones Community Risk Report (2021) for World Osteoporosis Day (Wednesday, October 20, 2021) and is calling for earlier investigation and treatment to capture all adults with risk factors for poor bone health, and adults post-fracture.1
About the report
This report summarises data from over 88,000 Australians who have completed Know Your Bones (online self-assessment tool) developed by Healthy Bones Australia in partnership with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to help Australians understand their risk for developing osteoporosis.
More than half (52 per cent) of respondents who reported a fracture were aged 50 to 60 years
Only half of those reporting a fracture had reported having a Bone Density test
A majority of respondents (86 per cent) who reported sustaining a fracture said they were not taking preventative osteoporosis medication
Nearly 40 per cent of those who completing the Know Your Bones online self-assessment reported having a medical risk factor for osteoporosis, while the vast majority (99 per cent) reported having a lifestyle risk factor (eg insufficient calcium intake or lack vitamin D, lack of exercise, tobacco smoking or high alcohol consumption
What the experts are saying
Healthy Bones Australia Medical Director Associate Professor Peter Wong, said specific risk factors increase a person’s risk for developing osteoporosis, including prior fracture, family history, certain medical conditions or medications, early menopause or low testosterone, lack of calcium or vitamin D, smoking, and high alcohol intake.
Professor Peter Ebeling AO, Chair Healthy Bones Australia says routine investigation of adults with risk factors for poor bone health is essential to secure an early osteoporosis diagnosis, protecting bone health, and preventing unnecessary fractures.
“Breaking any bone due to poor bone health is a serious medical event. People who fracture from poor bone health have a two-to-four-fold increased risk of breaking another bone. Fractures from poor bone health cause pain and disability, with patients commonly unable to work, drive or complete everyday household tasks”
Prof Ebeling added “Early diagnosis of osteoporosis allows us to prevent unwanted fractures,”
Consumer advocate, mother and grandmother, Elaine, 57 from Melbourne, was finally diagnosed with severe osteoporosis in 2019 after enduring three years of excruciating back pain due to unidentified spinal fractures. Elaine says “Despite my family history of bone disease, it never crossed my mind, nor was it even suggested to me, that I may be at risk for developing osteoporosis. I encourage everyone to use Know Your Bones and talk to your doctor about your bone health to prevent osteoporosis. The disease has substantially impacted my life, and I want others to avoid the pain I have gone through.”
Greg Lyubomirsky, CEO of Healthy Bones Australia explained “Know Your Bones represents a simple first step for Australians to consider their bone health, and in the comfort of their own homes.”
Mr Lyubomirsky stressed “Fractures place a huge burden on the cost of the healthcare system and account for the majority (69 per cent) of the expected $3.85 billion,4 in 2022.”
He added “At Healthy Bones Australia, we are committed to improving bone health. The data contained in the second edition of the Know Your Bones Community Risk Report provides timely insights for health professionals, policy makers, and the community.”