Members of the public
- Have you ever broken a bone after a minor fall or bump and do you know if you are at risk of further broken bones?
It is important that you take action to ensure that you reduce your risk of future breaks and get the care you are entitled to
Why is this important?
- If you break a bone (such as upper arm, wrist, pelvis, spine, hip, upper or lower leg) following a minor bump or fall from standing height when you are over the age of 50 years, this is called a ‘fragility fracture’
- Fragility fractures can be a sign of osteoporosis, a bone disease that affects over 2 million people in the UK and put you at greater risk of breaking another bone
- Osteoporosis is much more common in women, particularly after the menopause. It causes bones to become fragile and more prone to breaking
- In most cases, osteoporosis doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms and so most people don’t realise they have the disease until they suffer a fracture
- These fractures can cause a great deal of pain and disability and can make it difficult to live independently
- Half of people that break their hip have suffered a previous fracture
What can be done?
- The good news is that osteoporosis can be easily diagnosed and treated – in fact, with the right treatment and care, half of all fragility fractures could be prevented
- If you have broken a bone as a result of a fall or trip from standing height, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has provided your GP with recommendations on how to prevent you from fracturing again
- If you have not suffered a broken bone, your GP can use a short questionnaire called FRAX® on his/her computer to assess your risk and, if needed, can arrange to measure your bone density
What can you do?
- Make an appointment to see your GP if you have had a fracture and are not receiving any treatment or have reason to believe that you may have osteoporosis
- Encourage your friends or family over the age of 50 years who have suffered fractures, or may be at risk of osteoporosis, to have a risk assessment
- If you have stopped taking your osteoporosis treatment for any reason make an appointment to see your GP to ensure you continue to protect yourself from future fracture
More help and information
- If you would like further information about osteoporosis or how to improve your bone health, visit the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) website at www.nos.org.uk
The Breaking Point Report provided a snapshot of the current situation for women with osteoporosis in the UK.
Breaking Point described the practical steps that must be taken by healthcare professionals, policy makers and commissioners, as well as the public to prevent avoidable suffering and cost of osteoporotic fractures.