Osteoporosis Affects Three Times More Women Than Breast Cancer, Many Women Unaware Of Risk
23 Mar 2006

Women are at risk of premature death because they are unaware of many of the risk factors associated with osteoporosis. Almost a third of women surveyed were unaware that family history is a risk factor of the disease, according to new research conducted by YouGov and the Social Issues Research Centre. The research revealed that while women under 30 view breast cancer as a hereditary disease and a major health worry, when asked to choose two conditions that would be a concern in older age, osteoporosis was only specified by a small proportion of women - just 8%.

The lifetime risk of women developing breast cancer is one in nine - yet, worryingly, around three times more women will have a fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. Interestingly, the survey shows that 67% of women were unaware that the risk of developing osteoporosis was higher than that of breast cancer.

Furthermore, the research revealed a major lack of awareness of the potential consequences that osteoporosis can have - 98% of women were unaware that as many as one in two women will fracture a bone after the age of 50. The majority of women did not realise that approximately 25-30% of women who suffer a hip fracture may die within a year.

Dr Alun Cooper, GP, commented: ĆA significant proportion of women end up looking after their elderly mothers or mother-in-laws, who have lost mobility due to conditions such as osteoporosis. However, even with the known hereditary risk of osteoporosis, many women do not consider this disease to be a threat to them, even if their mother has it. Many will often not think about ways to protect their bones until they have a fracture.'

Senior Research consultant at the Social Issues Research Centre, Francesca Kenny, conducted an investigation into the evolution of mother-daughter relationships and how they influence each other in terms of health awareness as part of the research. ĆOur research tells us that mothers and daughter relationships appear to be getting stronger and they are more willing to share their health concerns with each other than previous generations. Despite this, awareness of some conditions is significantly low, even when there is a hereditary factor, so it seems more communication among mothers and daughters is needed to ensure they keep each other informed of health issues, helping them both to lead longer and healthier lives.

About the Social Issues Research Centre

The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) is an independent, non-profit organisation founded to conduct research on social and lifestyle issues, monitor and assess global sociocultural trends and provide new insights on human behaviour and social relations.

SIRC aims to provide a balanced, calm and thoughtful perspective on social issues, promoting open and rational debates based on evidence rather than ideology.

In pursuit of this balanced perspective, SIRC conducts research on positive aspects of social behaviour as well as the more problematic aspects that are the focus of most social-science research.

The UnBREAKable Bonds research was sponsored by Roche Products Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline.

About Osteoporosis
The World Health Organisation defines osteoporosis as Ća disease characterised by low bone mass and micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to enhanced bone fragility and a consequent increase in fracture risk'

An estimated 3 million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis.

It has also been estimated that every year in the UK, there are:
50,000 wrist fractures
120,000 spinal fractures
70,000 hip fractures
There are a number of risk factors associated with osteoporosis, including:

Family history of osteoporosis
Early menopause or hysterectomy (before age 45)
History of an eating disorder (e.g. anorexia)
Long term use of steroids (e.g. for arthritis or asthma)
Digestive problems (e.g. Crohns/coeliac disease)
Long term immobility
Smoking and/or heavy drinking

The following tips can help keep your bones strong:
Take regular, weight bearing exercise
Eat a healthy balanced diet, with plenty of calcium
Stop smoking
Watch what you drink! Limit alcohol intake
Talk to your GP/nurse about the risk of osteoporosis and what can be done to help

http://www.sirc.org/ Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=40081

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