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Never underestimate the severity of osteoporosis. It’s not simply ‘joint pain that old people get’. In South Africa, 4 to 6 million South Africans will develop this crippling ‘silent killer’. Could you be one of them?

Last year we discussed osteoporosis and how best to avoid it – read 6 Ways to protect your bones. Here’s a brief recap if you don’t want to re-read the entire article:

Our bones are living tissue. They constantly rebuild themselves. That is why, throughout our lives, we need to nourish them with minerals, vitamins and proteins.
However, as we age, our bones break down faster than they can rebuild themselves, and they lose density. As time passes, the bones can become excessively fragile and prone to fractures, especially in the spine, hip and wrists, causing extreme pain. Unfortunately, it’s usually only when these fractures happen that osteoporosis is diagnosed. That’s why it’s often called the ‘silent epidemic’.

Osteoporosis – once considered a normal part of ageing, can affect anyone – bone loss in women can begin as early as the age of 25. Worldwide, the lifetime risk for a woman to have an osteoporotic fracture is 30–40%. And men are not exempt – new studies have shown that 1 in 5 men will get osteoporosis. In South Africa, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will develop this disease within their lifetime. That’s potentially between 4 and 6 million South Africans.

What are your chances of getting osteoporosis?

Answer these questions frankly to find out…

  • I’m older than 65.
  • I’ve broken a bone after the age of 50.
  • I have a close relative with osteoporosis or who broke a bone in later life.
  • My general health is not very good.
  • I smoke.
  • I am underweight for my height.
  • I started menopause before I turned 45.
  • My diet may not contain sufficient calcium.
  • I have more than two drinks of alcohol several times a week.
  • I have poor vision, even with glasses.
  • I sometimes fall.
  • I’m not physically active.
  • I have one of the these medical conditions: hyperthyroidism, chronic lung disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic hepatic or renal disease, vitamin D deficiency, Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis.
  • I take one of these medications: oral glucocorticoids (steroids), cancer treatments (radiation, chemotherapy), thyroid medicine, anti-epileptic drugs, gonadal hormone suppression, immunosuppressive agents.
  • I have: rickets and osteomalacia, kidney disease, Paget’s disease of the bones, genetic abnormalities, endocrine disorders.
  • In some cases, osteoporosis is caused or contributed by other diseases.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we suggest you have a test to check for osteoporosis, then follow a healthy, greens- and calcium-rich diet and exercise more.

[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#FEFEFE” end_color=”#E0F2C0″ border=”#A0CF4C” color=”#4F8A0F”] Looking for more advice for healthy bones?
Also read Improve the health of your bones for a simple guide to building a healthier skeleton, and remember that our DensiMAX™ tablets provide a natural, vegetable source of calcium and trace elements.[/message] divider-clear

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.


  1. National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa. http://osteoporosis.org.za/general/index.html
  2. Osteoporosis Foundation Inc. http://www.osteofoundation.org/home.html

Photo credits

  1. Photo courtesy of kaboompics / Pixabay.com