This guest post was written by Occupational Therapist, Azeena Ratansi 

When you think about Osteoporosis, do you picture the following?


Or does this come to mind?

Osteoporosis:  signs and prevalence

Osteoporosis often conjures up images of frail, elderly individuals – some of whom have a stoop or “Dowager’s Hump. However, its’ prevalence may surprise you. Approximately 1 out of every 4 women over the age of 50, will develop osteoporosis. The incidence doubles once you hit 60 when it becomes 1 out of every 2 women. It can affect younger individuals as well; particularly those with intestinal conditions such as Colitis or celiac disease, as well as people on certain medications such as long-term corticosteroid therapy and anticonvulsants.

Often, a broken bone is the first sign that you have a problem, though many people will tend to rationalize why their fracture occurred. Take for instance, the woman who slipped on her icy driveway and ended up fracturing her wrist. As she explained, “anyone would have broken their wrist, I landed on such a hard surface”. This example is a classic one illustrating a typical osteoporotic fracture. Fortunately, our bones are designed to withstand these types of stresses, which is why fractures due to falls, are often the first sign that your bone health may be compromised.

Bone Mass Density

How does one test for osteoporosis? A bone mass density (BMD) test is the gold standard and consists of a simple type of dual x-ray imaging of your spine and hip area.

When should you get a BMD?

Usually, your first bone mass density (BMD) occurs once you have hit menopause – this is often referred to as your baseline BMD. The results help to establish your fracture risk in addition to guiding management.  BMD alone, does not guide fracture risk but in conjunction with other factors, it is an important marker of bone health

Osteoporotic fractures of the spine

Falls and fracture prevention are going to be the key focus of my presentation on Friday ‘Osteoporosis: Prevention strategies for falls and compression fractures’. I’ll be explaining how fractures of the spine (commonly referred to as compression fractures) occur. Hint: most are NOT due to falls.  You’ll also learn practical strategies on how to change the way you perform many of your routine daily activities to lower the risk of these compression fractures.

Falls and their risk factors

In addition, we’ll learn about falls and which muscles are key to strengthen to reduce your falls risk, what some of the common environmental hazards are (not always ice or snow) and which behaviours play a key role in preventing falls. For instance, did you know there is a right and wrong way to position a chair when you stand on it to reach for things? Another frequent consideration is whether you’ve had a fall in the past 12 months. This is important because the evidence shows that once you’ve had a fall, your risk of another fall increases by 3 times.

Curious to learn more about how to minimize falls and osteoporotic fractures? Please join us on Friday May 13th at the Active Living Centre for an interactive and informative workshop.

I look forward to seeing you there………..

For more information and to sign up for this workshop, please contact reception at 416 733.4111

Azeena Ratansi is an Occupational Therapist with over 20  years of experience in the area of Osteoporosis. She is the past recipient of a Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation research grant and has presented at numerous national and international conferences including the International Osteoporosis Foundation. She is a Lecturer with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto.