About Osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis?

Worldwide, one in three women and one in five men aged 50 years and over will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and fragile, so that they break easily – even as a result of a minor fall, a bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement. Fractures caused by osteoporosis can be life-threatening and a major cause of pain and long-term disability.

The care gap

Can osteoporosis and fractures be prevented? Yes, if action is taken early!

Fractures due to osteoporosis have a devastating impact on millions of people worldwide and result in enormous socio-economic costs to society and healthcare systems. Yet, despite effective medical advances to reduce fractures, a minority of men and women receive treatment.

Only 20% of patients with osteoporotic fractures are actually diagnosed or treated for osteoporosis, the underlying disease. In 2010, in Europe alone some 12.3 million people considered to be at a high risk for osteoporotic fractures were left untreated.

The 5 steps to healthy bones and a fracture-free future

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1Exercise

Exercise regularly - keep your bones and muscles moving

Weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening and balance-training exercises are best.

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2Nutrition

Ensure your diet is rich in bone-healthy nutrients

Calcium, vitamin D and protein are the most important for bone health. Safe exposure to sunshine will help you get enough vitamin D.

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3Lifestyle

Avoid negative lifestyle habits

Maintain a healthy body weight, avoid smoking and excessive drinking.

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4Risk factors

Find out whether you have risk factors

Bring these to your doctor’s attention, especially if you’ve had a previous fracture, have a family history of osteoporosis, or take specific medications that affect bone health

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5Testing & Treatment

Get tested and treated if needed

If you’re at high risk you will likely need medication and lifestyle changes to help protect yourself against fractures.

What to know more?

Learn more about osteoporosis and prevention.

Have risk factors? talk to your doctor, ask for testing

To become aware of any potential risk factors, take the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check.

If you are over the age of 50 and you have one or more risk factors you should discuss these with your doctor and ask for an assessment of your bone health status. Lifestyle changes may be recommended and, for those at high risk, medication may be prescribed for optimal protection against fractures.