This World Osteoporosis Day, women are being urged to #askformore from their osteoporosis care and treatment.
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition causing loss of bone strength, resulting in fragile bones.1 It is a growing problem, affecting around 500 million people globally,2 with one in three women over 50 experiencing a fracture due to fragile bones.3
Yet, how much do women think about this condition? Whether women are over 50 or not, being aware of osteoporosis, and the impact it may have on them or on a loved one, is important. Suffering from a broken bone can drastically change a person's life, which may lead to constant pain, reduced mobility and independence, and financial strain.4
Despite the availability of preventative therapies and management approaches for fragility fractures, a recent International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) report highlighted that 60–85% of women do not receive appropriate care.3 Why? Theramex, a leading, global speciality pharmaceutical company dedicated to women and their health, decided to find out via their #askformore campaign. The campaign is dedicated to raising women's awareness of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis. It involved an international survey of 1,008 women with osteoporosis from six countries*, conducted in cooperation with the IOF, to explore women's understanding of and experiences of living with and managing osteoporosis.5 It included 316 postmenopausal women over the age of 55 years and 315 premenopausal women (40-55 years) with osteoporosis (altogether 62% of the surveyed women).5 Of these women, osteoporosis was only diagnosed after a fracture in almost 60% of the cases.
The survey highlights a gap in osteoporosis awareness, as a quarter of the patients aged 55 years and over were not aware and did not understand the link between osteoporosis and bone fractures.5 In addition, while more than two-thirds (67%) of women over the age of 55 mostly understand what osteoporosis is and the potential negative impact of future fractures, 19% felt poorly informed at the time of the diagnosis.5 A third (35%) of respondents said they would have been motivated to watch out for their bone health.5 Close to 25% of postmenopausal women felt not listened to by their doctors when discussing their treatment.5
The survey highlights a gap in disease awareness and understanding which could be the reason women are not empowered to ask for more. Indeed, misconceptions about osteoporosis must be eliminated; women need to fully understand the condition to be emboldened to ask for the care they deserve. This World Osteoporosis Day should be a wakeup call. Healthcare professionals can be a part of this by helping provide patients with even better information and resources about osteoporosis and women can take that extra step to #askformore from their osteoporosis care. For further information and osteoporosis resources, visit https://www.osteoporosis.foundation/.
Osteoporosis will no longer be the silent disease if women start asking questions. A thorough understanding may protect women's bones and decrease their chance of getting osteoporosis.
> Do not hesitate to #askformore and if you need support take a look at this helpful Conversation Guide.
*Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Brazil
- Noh, J.Y, Yang, Y. & Jung, H. (2020) Molecular mechanisms and emerging therapeutics for osteoporosis. Int J Mol Sci. 21 (20),7623
- International Osteoporosis Foundation. https://www.osteoporosis.foundation/facts-statistics/epidemiology-of-osteoporosis-and-fragility-fractures
- Cooper, C. & Ferrari, S. (2019) IOF Compendium of Osteoporosis. International Osteoporosis Foundation. 2nd edition.
- International Osteoporosis Foundation. (2019) BROKEN BONES, BROKEN LIVES: A roadmap to solve the fragility fracture crisis in Europe. Available from:
https://www.osteoporosis.foundation/sites/iofbonehealth/files/2019-06/1.%202018_EU6_Report_BrokenBonesBrokenLives_English.pdf [Accessed 25th September 2021]
- Opinion Matters. (2021) #Askformore Osteoporosis International Survey