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The significance of World Osteoporosis Day

This day sets in motion a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

WORLD Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is commemorated on 20 October each year. This day sets in motion a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Organised by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the initiative involves patient societies from around the world, with over 90 countries being part of this campaign.

Osteoporosis, also dubbed a ‘silent killer’, is a disease that weakens the bones to an extent that even normal everyday activities such as walking, running or even a sneeze can cause the bone to break or fracture.

This year’s commemoration, themed, ‘Step Up for Bone Health’, is a call for people to take prompt action towards better care of their bones, to lower the risk of developing the disease later on in their lives.

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According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), women are more prone to develop osteoporosis than men.

“Although osteoporosis can strike at any age, it is most common among older people, especially older white and Asian women. Men also develop this disease. The risk of osteoporosis grows as you get older,” they said.

“At the time of menopause, women may lose bone quickly for several years. After that, the loss slows down but continues. In men, the loss of bone mass is slower. But, by age 65 or 70, men and women are losing bone at the same rate,” they said.

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Among some of the preventative measures against osteoporosis is eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. A daily consumption of 1 000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day in adults can help strengthen the bone while consuming 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium and thus lessen the risk of osteoporosis.

Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, hiking, jogging and climbing stairs, are also said to be among the best ways to keep your bones strong and healthy.


One way to check if you have osteoporosis is to have a bone mineral-density test done. Bone density can be measured using a machine that determines the quantity of minerals in your bones. This test measures your bone density against the bones of an average healthy young adult. This test not only diagnoses osteoporosis but determines if you are at risk of having a fracture in future.


There are four types of treatments for osteoporosis: a weekly pill, a monthly pill, an intravenous infusion and an annual IV infusion. Treatment recommendations for osteoporosis are often based on an evaluation of your risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years. This then serves as a guide to determine which type of medication one would need to use.

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