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New Facts on Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Society, it is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. This can lead to bones becoming fragile and breaking easily, resulting in pain and disability.


In childhood, bones grow and repair very quickly, but this process slows as you get older. Bones stop growing in length between the ages of 16 and 18, but continue to increase in density until you are in your late 20s. From about the age of 35, you gradually lose bone density. This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis can affect men and women. It is more common in older people, but it can affect younger people too.


I have just discovered 2 interesting new facts about the factors affecting osteoporosis:


  1. A recent large study has shown that smoking in middle aged to elderly men increases their risk of developing osteoporosis more than for the same age group of female smokers. However current guidelines do not recommend osteoporosis screening for men, and while current smoking is a recognized risk factor for osteoporosis, a history of smoking is not among criteria for bone-density screening. (1)

  2. Poor sleep, is thought to negatively affect bone density and is believed to contribute to osteoporosis according to a report cited by the National Osteoporosis Society. A recent study demonstrated that those who suffer Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep causes changes in breathing patterns and therefore sleep disturbances. This is often seen in older and overweight men. It has been suggested that this disrupted sleep affects the bone cell activity and therefore bone health is affected. (2)


If you would like more information on Osteoporosis please click here, see or the National Osteoporosis Society at www.nos.org.uk, they also have an interesting test you can do to see if you are at risk - you can take it here.


By Jane Morris, Owner, Centre of Complementary Health


References (1) Joshua D. Jaramillo, Carla Wilson, Douglas J. Stinson, David A Lynch, Russell P Bowler, Sharon Lutz, Jessica M Bon, Ben Arnold, Merry-Lynn N McDonald, George R. Washko, Emily S Wan, Dawn L DeMeo, Marilyn G Foreman, Xavier Soler, Sarah E Lindsay, Nancy E. Lane, Harry K. Genant, Edwin K Silverman, John E. Hokanson, Barry J Make, James D Crapo, Elizabeth A Regan. Reduced Bone Density and Vertebral Fractures in Smokers: Men and COPD Patients at Increased Risk. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 2015; 150226144213008 DOI: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201412-591OC


(2) Swanson, C. M., Shea, S. A., Stone, K. L., Cauley, J. A., Rosen, C. J., Redline, S., Karsenty, G. and Orwoll, E. S. (2015), Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Metabolic Bone Disease: Insights Into the Relationship Between Bone and Sleep. J Bone Miner Res, 30: 199-211. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.2446