Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is joining the international community on World Osteoporosis Day, marked on October 20 (today) to raise awareness.
Held under the theme: “Take Action for Bone Health”, it encourages the public to be aware of their bone health by knowing the risk factors for developing osteoporosis and bone fractures.
“Osteoporosis is a disease which makes bones weak and fragile. and greatly increases the risk of breaking a bone even after a minor fall or bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement," said Dr Samar al-Emadi, head of Rheumatology Division at HMC.
"The disease has no obvious symptoms, so many people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture. Fractures can be life-altering, causing pain, disability and loss of independence. That’s why it’s important to prevent the disease from happening by raising awareness,” she explained.
“Our bones are living tissue that give the body structure and allows us to move and protect our organs. When the bones become porous and fragile, they cause great increase in the risk of having painful, and often disabling, broken bones. Throughout life, bone is constantly being renewed, with new bone replacing old bone and this helps to keep our skeleton strong. But for people with osteoporosis, more and more bone is lost and not replaced. This means that the bones gradually become brittle and more likely to break,” Dr al-Emadi said.
Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ as most people don’t know they have the disease until they suffer a broken bone from a minor fall or bump – something that would not normally have caused such a drastic injury. “In fact, even after breaking a bone, around 80% of patients are still not diagnosed and treated for osteoporosis, the underlying disease which has caused the fracture,” she noted.
Dr al-Emadi said the marking of the day is a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases and also aims to put bone health and fracture prevention on the global health agenda.
“Currently, osteoporosis is vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated due to lack of awareness and late diagnosis. Worldwide, millions of people at high risk of broken bones remain unaware of the underlying silent disease. The huge human and socioeconomic cost, and severe impact of fractures on patients’ independence, is underestimated,” she highlighted.
World Osteoporosis Day 2021 activities at HMC will focus on the need to take action for osteoporosis and fracture prevention. “We will seek to engage the public and patients, encouraging specific actions that lead to better bone health at all stages of life, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in adulthood,” added Dr al-Emadi.