|Health of Bone concerns everyone in Ireland aged 50 and over. Why? Because the startling figures show that 1 in 3 post menopausal Irish women, and perhaps even more surprisingly, 1 in 5 Irish men aged over 50 have osteoporosis. Yes that’s actually one quarter of the population over the age of 50!|
Bone is like a steel structure supporting a large multi-storey building. Even though we think of bone as hard, dense and well ‘bony’, it is a living tissue that is in a constant state of change.
As living tissue, bone continues to be made throughout life. New bone cells are constantly formed to replace older cells, a process known as bone remodelling. In fact it is this remodelling process that allows bone to heal after being fractured or broken.
Until we grow to full adult height, bone formation massively outdoes breakdown of old cells. From mid 30’s onwards the opposite gradually occurs and formation of new bone slows down. Later in life, various factors may adversely affect this process, so that bone becomes less dense, more brittle and more at risk of breaking with minor trauma.
If you are over 50 and reading this article, you may be familiar with the words osteopaenia or osteoporosis. Both terms concern the density or mineral capacity of bone. Osteopaenia is an early warning sign of impending bone change. Osteoporosis is the later stage of a gradual process leading to brittle, easily broken bones.
Early on both can be silent and painless. However the consequences of not diagnosing or managing osteopaenia/porosis are serious.
The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists is centrally involved with the medical profession and the Irish Osteoporosis Society in promoting bone health. As rehabilitation therapists we see the devastation and difficulty for older persons recovering after falling and breaking a bone. Recovery can be challenging for the individual and their family, places burdens on the healthcare system and the wider community.
The importance of diagnosing osteopaenia is that if caught, it can be reversed with good self management. The old adage ’if you do what you have always done, you will get the same result’ is never more true than here. Unless the right lifestyle choices and alterations are made, bones will inexorably become more brittle, becoming a ticking time bomb.
The management of osteopaenia/porosis is in the main three pronged:
Of these loaded exercise has been proven to have significantly positive effect on bone formation, making it stronger and denser. However each component of type, frequency and quantity of exercise is important. In osteoporosis especially exercise needs to be thought of as a prescription: what is suitable for one person may not be appropriate for the next. It is vital that each person with this diagnosis understands how to exercise appropriately for their presentation. Some exercises may need to be avoided as being too strong or ineffective for building bone safely.
For this reason, TherapyXperts Maynooth are delighted to have developed a unique short series of Bone Health classes, to be run in conjunction with Curves, at Maynooth Business Campus. Set up as a joint venture, the idea is to take the knowledge and expertise of Chartered Physiotherapists and to put it to use in a gym environment that is suitable and accessible for women (and men) in the over 50 age group. The once weekly pre-booked class will be open to both sexes, in a unique step for Curves, the ladies’ only gym.
The joint venture aims to promote safe and appropriate exercise for osteoporosis. It is anticipated that the blueprint we have developed together will be extended to other locations within the county and country in coming months.
As part of the class, each person will complete an individual assessment with the physiotherapist. A personalized exercise program will then be created based on results of each person’s DEXA scan. This program will then be performed and progressed weekly in the class under supervision of the physiotherapist.
Commencing in early August the class will be conducted by one of TherapyXperts’ Chartered Physiotherapists. It consists of four sessions of information and exercise plus the individual assessment session. The idea is that by committing to nearly five hours of exercise and learning over the course of a month, people with this diagnosis of will gain clear understanding of the risk factors that led to development of their osteoporosis/ osteopaenia and learn how to change their life for the better, using appropriate exercise to manage this lifelong condition.
Ultimately it is hoped that each person will continue with their personalized exercise regime, appropriate to their individual bone readings. As a reward for the first ten participants Curves are pleased to offer a one week free trail of the system on completion of the August class.
So, if you have osteoporosis and are not sure which exercises are best for your condition, take the opportunity today to avail of this exciting bone health development right here on your doorstep. Contact Genevieve Fay MISCP or any of the team at Therapyxperts Maynooth or Curves to secure your place.