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Key findings about bone health revealed at Parliament House aged care event

More than 1.2 million Australians are living with osteoporosis and the prevalence is on the rise

<p>Pictured: from left to right — Member of the Australian House of Representatives Emma McBride, CEO of Healthy Bones Australia Greg Lyubomirsky and Healthy Bones ambassador Sally Pearson, OAM [Source: VIVA Communications]</p>

Pictured: from left to right — Member of the Australian House of Representatives Emma McBride, CEO of Healthy Bones Australia Greg Lyubomirsky and Healthy Bones ambassador Sally Pearson, OAM [Source: VIVA Communications]

Key points:

  • Healthy Bones Australia’s Know Your Bones Community Risk Report, Third Edition, 2023 was delivered at Parliament House, Canberra, today
  • The Report found that, of the 104,000 respondents, 52 percent who reported a broken bone were aged between 50 – 69 years
  • 87 percent of respondents who had broken a bone were not on osteoporosis medication

 

Dual World and Olympic champion hurdler Sally Pearson, OAM, delivered Healthy Bones Australia’s latest Know Your Bones Community Risk Report at a Parliamentary Friends of Aged Care event on October 19, 2023.

The Healthy Bones ambassador teamed up with doctors, patients and politicians today, encouraging Australians to ‘know your bones’ ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, October 20.

The new Report includes data from over 104,000 Australians who have completed the ‘Know Your Bones’ online self-assessment tool that provides personalised recommendations about bone health.

Based on findings in the Report, advocates have called for the earlier investigation of bone health through bone mineral density testing and an increased emphasis on medical intervention to reduce the impact of preventable fractures.

A ‘bone density’ BMD test is a simple scan, taking only 10 – 15 minutes, that measures the density of the bones, usually at the hip and spine and requires a GP referral.

Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Bones Australia Greg Lyubomirsky said the Report was intended to improve the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.

“We are pleased so many Australians are using this self-assessment, which represents a simple first step to checking bone health. However, we need to close this gap between identifying risk factors and taking action,” the CEO explained.

“Concerningly, our 2023 Report reveals half of all fractures are occurring in adults aged 50 – 69 years and nearly a quarter of respondents over 70 years with clinical risk factors for osteoporosis have not undergone a BMD test.

“More than one-third of respondents reported a clinical risk factor, yet only half reported having a BMD test.

“The Report also confirms lifestyle risk factors are common and addressing inadequate calcium and vitamin D levels, lack of exercise and smoking, excessive alcohol intake, are important for supporting bone health.”

Sally was surprised by the complex recovery process from her shattered wrist in 2015, which significantly compromised her mobility, independence and mental well-being.

“The rehabilitation process was more traumatic than the actual fracture. Thankfully, because my bones were generally quite strong, I was able to mount a successful recovery from my injury and to win my second World Championship in 2017,” Sally said.

“This is not the case, however, for many Australians living with osteoporosis. We know that too many people are suffering unnecessarily from broken bones that could have been prevented.

“Based on my personal experience with fractures, I know how important it is to look after your bones.”

 

Ahead of World Osteoporosis Day, Sally has urged Australians to prioritise their bone health by taking the ‘Know Your Bones’ online self-assessment today.

Sydney-based graphic designer and classic car enthusiast, Marilyn, 68, was 65 years of age when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2021.

“I never expected I had anything wrong with me — in fact, I didn’t even know I was at risk of osteoporosis,” she explained.

“So, when I looked at my test results stating I was ‘off the scale,’ I was extremely upset.

“Like many other Australians, I mistakenly thought osteoporosis was a disease of older people, seen in those with a severely hunched spine.

“It’s crucial that we all focus on protecting our bones, in order to prevent the development of osteoporosis.”

'Know Your Bones' announcement. [Source: VIVA Communications]

Osteoporosis costs the Australian healthcare system approximately $3.4 billion each year, with fractures accounting for 67 percent of the economic burden.

 

Notably, hip fractures are most severe in terms of ongoing pain, disability and mortality. Following a hip fracture in Australia, 11 percent of patients are discharged to residential care and up to six percent of cases result in death.

 

To check out the ‘Know Your Bones’ tool, please visit Healthy Bones Australia online.

Let the team at Talking Aged Care know what the test told you about your bone health and subscribe to the Talking Aged Care newsletter for more informative news!

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