What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle, leading to a higher risk of fractures than in normal bone. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, leading to a loss of bone thickness (bone mass or density).
As a result, bones become thinner and less dense, so that even a minor bump or fall can cause serious fractures. These are known as ‘fragility’ or ‘minimal trauma’ fractures.
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease, because it usually has no signs or symptoms until a fracture occurs.
Early detection is the key, so next time you visit your doctor ask about having a Bone Density Test or call us on 1800 011 041 for your free information pack.
Download a copy of the most recent Osteoblast magazine.
The role of vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health. By improving the absorption of bone-building calcium from the intestine, vitamin D is important to the growth and maintenance of a strong skeleton. Vitamin D also helps to control calcium levels in the blood and helps to maintain muscle strength.
Vitamin D and sunshine
For most Australians, sunshine is the main source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light emitted by the sun.
The amount of sun exposure required to produce adequate levels of vitamin D is relatively low. However, many Australians do not have adequate vitamin D levels, especially during winter. Required sun exposure times will vary based on season, location, area of skin exposed and skin type.
In summer, exposure is best at mid morning or mid afternoon (outside peak UV times). In winter, longer exposure times are needed, preferably around midday.
It is important to balance the need for sun exposure to produce adequate vitamin D, at the same time avoiding the risk of skin damage from too much exposure.
Read more about how to take time for a vitamin D break this winter.