There is indeed one thing I have learnt – that an accurate diagnosis, which is relatively simple, can save women from a lot of suffering, fractures and emotional damage.
Our bones are living tissue that give our body structure, allow us to move and protect our organs. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become thin and lose their strength. This can lead to fractures, which cause pain and make everyday activities extremely difficult. After a hip fracture, about one-quarter of people die or never walk again.
It’s estimated over 200 million women have osteoporosis. That’s more than the combined populations of the Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
Worldwide, one in three women and one in five men over the age of fifty will experience an osteoporotic fracture.
In fact, every three seconds a bone will break, somewhere in the world, because of this disease.
Many people won’t know they have osteoporosis until their first fracture, which is why it’s called the ‘silent disease’. Even after a break, it often goes untreated.
The good news is osteoporosis can be diagnosed and treated and fractures often prevented through healthy lifestyle choices.
Our Bone Health Advocates
I encourage young girls and boys to realize that the way they treat their bodies will have a big impact later in life. I know that teenagers consider themselves 'invincible', and I was that way too, of course. But it isn’t difficult to 'invest in your bones'. Don’t buy into the myth of starving yourself. Don’t be a couch potato. Eat wisely, get outside and have fun. Your body will thank you in a few years.
As health minister I came in contact with people affected from osteoporosis. It’s not sufficient to listen to them but to do more. We have to make a change, so I urge policy makers to take action on osteoporosis! It’s really important to eat a balanced diet and exercise. Move it or lose it!