World Osteoporosis Day takes place every year on 20 October, launching a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know they have osteoporosis until their bones become so fragile that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes a hip to break or a vertebra to collapse.
Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporosis fracture occurring every three seconds. In Australia, more than 1.3 million people have osteoporosis and 6.3 million have low bone density.
At Monash Health, our dedicated Osteoporosis team have adapted to the challenges COVID-19 has presented, taking measures to protect our patients. All outpatient clinic consultations have transitioned from face-to-face consultations to telehealth consultations.
It is important to note that there is no evidence that osteoporosis drugs increase the risk of COVID-19. For individuals at high risk for fracture, osteoporosis therapy should not be delayed and can be done via telehealth.
Professor Peter Ebeling AO, Head of the Department of Medicine at Monash Health’s School of Clinical Sciences and Medical Director of Osteoporosis Australia, says, “We need to ensure our patients are taking medication as advised and getting prescriptions filled on time”.
Our Osteoporosis team remains committed to keeping our patients up to update with their treatments and staying fracture free, alleviating the pressure on our healthcare system during this pandemic.
Tips for maintaining your bone health and preventing osteoporosis during COVID-19
- Stay active and exercise safely by adapting exercises at home. Weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening and balance-training exercises are best. Ensure that your home environment is free of clutter and any obstructions. Osteoporosis Australia have a helpful exercise guide for more information.
- Calcium, vitamin D and protein are the most important for bone health. Whether you are on a medication or not, you should aim for an adequate calcium intake in your diet. Safe exposure to sunshine will help you get enough vitamin D. You can view a list of foods with calcium and how to get the required amount of vitamin D on the Osteoporosis Australia website.
- Maintain contact with your family, friends and health care providers by telephone or email.
- Do not stop osteoporosis treatment during the pandemic. If you need support or have concerns about your treatment during this time, reach out to your doctor.
- If you are taking oral medications or self-injectables to treat your osteoporosis, please check with your doctor to make sure you have adequate amounts available. It is important your scheduled injectable medications that are administered by a healthcare provider stay on schedule.
- If you have a history of low bone density or osteoporosis, you need to stay connected with your doctor to ensure optimal protection against fractures.
Remember, osteoporosis and related fractures can be prevented if action is taken early! Take a one-minute Osteoporosis Risk Check now to identify your risk factors.
Don’t forget to love your bones! Let’s all stay safe and fracture free.
Approved by France Milat (Deputy Director of Endocrinology) and Peter Ebeling (Head of the Department of Medicine at Monash Health’s School of Clinical Sciences)