Osteoporosis is currently a hot topic, with some doctors in South Africa slowly starting to incorporate 'alternative' methods into the treatment and maintenance of the condition in addition to western medicine, especially the adoption of an alkaline diet rich in foods such as honey, tomatoes, potatoes, and raisins.
With so much focus on newer approaches to caring for osteoporosis sufferers, more and more research, statistics, and figures are making the news, including the fact that 33 percent of South African women, and 20 percent of South African men, will develop the condition at some point in their lives, according to Health24.
Not Just a Woman's Disease
These figures are somewhat surprising, especially when compared to osteoporosis statistics for other countries. What is usually found is that women have a much higher chance of developing the condition than men as hormonal imbalances are often cited as a contributing factor, but with just a 13 percent difference in diagnoses between the genders in South Africa, it appears that osteoporosis is more than just a 'woman's disease'.
This has been confirmed by the South African Medical Research Council, who report that, in developed countries, women are up to 6 times more likely to develop spinal osteoporosis than men, and up to 3 times for likely to suffer fractures from falls relating to the condition.
In developing countries however, including South Africa, the odds are practically even for both men and women. The Council admit that the reasons for this remain unknown, but that it does emphasise how important it is for men, especially those in South Africa, to understand more about the condition, and effective management techniques.
Increased Risk of Falls
Osteoporosis is an extension of the natural loss of bone density that happens with age. While the majority of people lose bone density at a normal and expected rate, others lose it much quicker, and to a greater extent.
Osteoporosis by itself is not a concern - what is a concern, however, is falls. As we age, we tend to become more unbalanced, increasing the risk of falls. For people with osteoporosis, even a small trip can cause fractured or broken bones.
While there is no cure for the condition, there are ways of managing osteoporosis, and the associated pain. To reduce the risk of falls, sufferers are encouraged to use mobility devices both inside and outside of the home, including grab rails, stairlifts, and wheelchairs if necessary.