Fact Sheets

Comprehensive Consumer Guide

This Guide includes information on various topics including osteoporosis, risk factors, calcium, vitamin D, exercise and treatment options. For individual Factsheets refer to the list below.

Individual Factsheets – Calcium, Vitamin D, Exercise, Treatment

Calcium and Bone Health

A small amount of calcium is absorbed into the blood and used for the healthy functioning of the heart, muscles, blood and nerves. Bones act like a calcium bank. If there is not enough calcium in your diet, the body will take what is needed from your bones for use in other parts of the body. If this happens, your bone density (bone strength) will gradually decline, and you may risk developing osteoporosis. Learn more about Calcium and Bone Health.

Vitamin D and Bone Health

Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium from the intestine to support healthy bones. Vitamin D also plays a role in supporting the growth and maintenance of the skeleton and regulating calcium levels in the blood. Learn more about vitamin D and bone health.

Exercise and Bone Health

Exercise plays an important role in maintaining bone health. Research has demonstrated that when it comes to our bones, not all exercise is equal. Bones benefit when a certain amount of impact or strain is placed on them, making specific types of exercise most beneficial. Learn more about exercise and bone health.

Osteoporosis Treatment and Bone Health

Most medications function by slowing or blocking the activity of bone-removing cells (called osteoclasts) while leaving bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) at work. This helps improve bone strength over time. Learn more about osteoporosis treatment and bone health.

Factsheets on Medical Conditions, Medications & Bone Health

Anorexia Nervosa and Bone Health

The onset of anorexia mainly occurs during the teen years, which is also an important time for bone development and building bone mass (with the peak bone mass normally reached by the mid-twenties). People who have anorexia nervosa (or have suffered from it in the past) are at higher risk of having poor bone health. Learn more about anorexia nervosa and bone health.

Breaking a Bone and Bone Health

Any bone can be affected by poor bone health. The most serious type of fractures are in the hip and spine. Common fracture sites include the wrist, hip, spine, upper arm, forearm and ribs. Anyone who experiences a broken bone from a minor bump or fall, and is 50 years or over, should also be investigated for osteoporosis. Learn more about breaking a bone and bone health.

Breast Cancer and Bone Health

Most breast cancers need the hormone estrogen to grow and survive, and effective cancer treatments work by starving the cancer of estrogen. However, estrogen is important in maintaining bone strength and protecting bones. Reduced levels of estrogen lead to a weakening of the bones and poor bone health. Learn more about breast cancer and bone health.

Coeliac Disease and Bone Health

Coeliac disease affects the ability of the bowel to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food. This can greatly impact your bone health. A delayed coeliac diagnosis can lead to weakened bones and a risk of osteoporosis. Learn more about coeliac disease and bone health.

Diabetes and Bone Health

Diabetes can be associated with poor bone quality. Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes can be associated with poor bone health (and related fractures). However, bone density is impacted differently depending of the type of diabetes. Learn more about diabetes and bone health.

Epilepsy and Bone Health

Epilepsy is commonly treated with Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs). Some studies have indicated long-term treatment with certain AED medications can negatively impact bone health by reducing bone mineral density (BMD). Learn more about Epilepsy and bone health.

Glucocorticoids and Bone Health

Glucocorticoids can slow down cells that form new bone and result in the bones gradually losing some strength and can be prone to fracture. Glucocorticoids may also interfere with the absorption of calcium in the intestine and how the kidneys manage calcium. Learn more about glucocorticoids and bone health.

Menopause and Bone Health

Oestrogen plays an important role in maintaining bone strength. So changes in hormone levels around the time of menopause can impact bone health and women can lose bone density and strength due to changes in hormone levels.

Osteopenia and Bone Health

Osteopenia describes low bone density following a bone density scan (also known as a bone density test). Osteopenia is based on the result from this scan and is in the range between normal and osteoporosis. Learn more about osteopenia and bone health.

Pregnancy and Bone Health

Pregnancy-associated osteoporosis (transient osteoporosis in pregnancy) is a rare condition. The cause is unclear, and the woman affected can break a bone easily during pregnancy or in the weeks following the birth. These breaks normally occur in the spine and sometimes the hip. This can be painful and debilitating at the time – however, patients do heal, pregnancy-related osteoporosis is short-lived, and most women do not have similar issues in later pregnancies. Learn more about pregnancy and bone health.

Prostate Cancer and Bone Health

Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer are aged 65 and older. And as men get older with lower levels of natural testosterone, their risk for osteoporosis also increases. However, a dramatic decrease in this hormone level when men receive hormonal therapy may lead to low bone density and an increased risk of osteoporosis and fracture in men with prostate cancer. Learn more about prostate cancer and bone health.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Bone Health

Rheumatoid arthritis is a particular form of arthritis. It is an auto-immune condition that causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness. There are several reasons why people who have rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and bone health.

Thyroid Conditions and Bone Health

Disorders of the thyroid gland can affect the amount of thyroxine circulating in the body, and this can have an impact on bone turnover. Over a long period, this may affect bone strength leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis and breaking a bone. Learn more about thyroid conditions and bone health.