Around three million people in the UK have osteoporosis, and it is more common in women than men. It affects one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50, although it can affect people of all ages.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak, fragile and can break easily. Osteoporosis can be caused by:
- Early menopause (before the age of 45 – see our section on Menopause for more information)
- Early hysterectomy (before the age of 45)
- Close family history
- Long term immobility
- Heavy drinking
Ways to help prevent osteoporosis
There are several ways to keep your bones healthy and reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis:
- Diet – Eating and drinking foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, baked beans, dried fruit and green, leafy vegetables.
- Exercise – Regular, weight-bearing exercise such as jogging, aerobics, tennis, dancing and brisk walking can help to improve bone strength.
- Lifestyle – Smoking and drinking alcohol both increase the risk of osteoporosis as they have a toxic effect on bones, so stop smoking and drink alcohol in moderation. See our article on Giving up smoking for advice.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – HRT can be very helpful in preventing osteoporosis. Speak to your GP for further advice.
Royal Osteoporosis Society have produced a wide range of information sheets and leaflets on various issues about osteoporosis, which you should find helpful. They can also give you details of a support group in your local area.
You may find it useful to read our Falls Prevention article on Information NOW.
Information in other languages
Other Useful Organisations
- Newcastle and District Osteoporosis Support Group have several meetings annually and always meet on the second Monday of the month, usually at MEA House.
- NHS 111 is the new telephone service which has replaced NHS Direct. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.
- NHS.UK is a website providing health and medical advice, an online symptom checker and a facility for searching for services near you.
- National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has produced guidance for those diagnosed with osteoporosis including after a fracture.
Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.
Last updated: October 20, 2020