Lions osteoporosis campaign is underway

| 04/06/2009

(CNS): Over 100 people turned up for the start of the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens Osteoporosis Awareness campaign at the Elmslie Memorial Church Hall last week. Dr Jemel Khan of Cayman Orthopaedic Group told the audience that since osteoporosis is almost symptom-free, it can be easily ignored. He pointed out that the main symptom is a big one, a fracture but that unfortunately is only the beginning and that 20% of those individuals over the age of 50 who are unlucky to fracture their hip, die within the year and another 25% will require long-term care. 

Dr. Khan said that half of all women and one in eight men will suffer a fracture related to osteoporosis. In addition after 35 years old people lose bone mass each year and post menopausal women lose more bone mass.  He explained that the disease is however preventable.  For most premenopausal individuals, the treatment is nothing more invasive than making some healthy lifestyle changes including regular exercise and adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone loss.  Dr Khan added that a bone density test can determine if an individual has osteoporosis or at risk of developing it before any bones are broken. He encouraged all post menopausal women under age of 65 who have one or more additional risk factors for osteoporosis, (such as being female, family history, being small and thin) people over 65 years old and women who have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT/ERT) for prolonged periods to have a bone density test as this will evaluate their risk for osteoporosis. 

Kathy Barnett from Progressive Distributors emphasized choosing a healthier lifestyle as a preventative measure to ward off osteoporosis. Her presentation included the use of food models to demonstrate ways to include calcium rich foods in diets. She said on average people under than 50 years need 1000milligrams of calcium daily while those over 50 will need 1200 milligrams to ensure that their bodies remain strong.

Samantha Conolly Pharmacist at HSA provided vital information on the prescription drugs used to treat and prevent osteoporosis. She focussed on antiresorptive medication used to stop the breakdown of calcium from the bone and bone forming medication. "We cannot feel our bones getting stronger while we are take medications for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis,” Conolly explained. “A favourable response to treatment is when bone mineral density (checked with a bone density test) either remains stable or improves and no fractures occur. Community Dietician Bethany Smith provided advice from a nutritional point and the club handing out 55 bone density test vouchers to qualified members of the audience. The club said it will continue the awareness campaign visiting the other districts under the leadership of the incoming President Lion Melrose Gooding. 


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