Poor bone health can lead to breaking a bone. This can have a big impact on the individual, their family, and is a serious medical consequence of having osteoporosis. Fortunately not everyone with diagnosed osteoporosis or osteopenia will break a bone and that is good news.
Actions to help avoid broken bones
- Undiagnosed osteoporosis places a person at greater risk of breaking a bone. Early investigation of any risk factors will help to diagnose osteoporosis.
- Adults 50 years or over who have broken a bone from a minor bump or fall should be investigated for underlying osteoporosis. This is not yet routine practice In Australia. If a fracture occurs in someone with undiagnosed osteoporosis they are at greater risk of having more fractures. This person should be diagnosed and then closely managed and monitored by their doctor.
- Broken bones can still occur in patients with diagnosed osteoporosis or osteopenia. However ongoing treatment and management with your doctor will greatly reduce this risk.
A fracture or a broken bone?
A fracture (generally a medical term) and a broken bone are essentially the same thing. Doctors will focus on the location and severity of the break. Common fracture sites are the wrist, hip and spine. Other fracture sites include the forearm, upper arm, leg, ribs.
Breaking a bone due to poor bone health is considered a serious medical emergency. This typically requires a visit to the hospital emergency department (and may involve an ambulance) admission to hospital for surgery, hospital stay, rehabilitation and home care.
How common are broken bones related to poor bone health?
Preventing broken bones is the priority. Here’s why –
- over 173,000 broken bones occur each year from poor bone health
- hip fracture remains the most serious and costly type of fracture. Studies have shown up to half of all hip fracture patients had a prior fracture and many of these were related to undiagnosed osteoporosis.
- breaking a bone is painful and requires recovery time, disrupts normal living, affects your level of independence and mobility
- 30% of all fratures related to poor bone health are in men
- sudden and unexplained back pain may be caused by undiagnosed spinal fractures which can be wrongly attributed to other causes
Healthy Bones Australia is focused on reducing the number of broken bones in the community and protecting bone health in Australia. Take steps to protect your bones and speak to your doctor.