About the MediGYM™ Osteoporosis service.

Our service is a fun, safe and professional way to prevent and manage your osteoporosis. Our service is focused on specific exercise routines to optimise your bone and general health. We work in harmony with your family doctor to provide a holistic approach to your care. We conduct fitness and/ or musculoskeletal assessments upon which an exercise program is then devised. There are no ‘recipe’ programs. Your program will be written for your needs and will be closely monitored and progressed. Home exercises are encouraged.

What is Osteoporosis ?

Osteoporosis is a condition characterised by bone thinning with a loss of calcium from the skeleton, leading to an increased likelihood of fragility fractures. It can progress for many years without any signs or symptoms. It is not painful until a bone breaks or crushes. Osteoporosis is preventable and treatable.

How common is osteoporosis ?

It affects one in two females and one in three males over the age of 60.

What causes it?

Strength and density in bones develop during the early years in life, reaching their peak at about 20 years of age. At about the age of 35, bones slowly start to lose their calcium progressing to 1% loss of bone density each year. Around menopause, women lose bone density a lot faster. People who do not build bone density in their younger years or who lose it too fast as they age are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed ?

The most accurate way is a special low-dose x-ray bone mass density test or DEXA scan. An x-ray may also be undertaken. New diagnostic methods are being researched.

What are the risk factors for developing osteoporosis?

  • People who don’t build enough bone density by early childhood, or those who lose it too fast as they age.
  • lack of physical activity
  • family history
  • women after menopause and those who have an early menopause.
  • women dieters, (those with anorexia), restriction in dietary calcium.
  • people with limited sun exposure
  • people who smoke
  • high alcohol intake
  • high salt intake
  • high caffeine intake and low calcium intake.

Why should we be concerned about osteoporosis ?

Although osteoporosis is asymptomatic until a crush or fracture occurs, statistics show that 16% of elderly patients suffering hip fractures will die within six months and 50% will require long-term nursing care. (Royal Australian College of Physicians, Working Party on Osteoporosis, 1991)

How can we prevent osteoporosis?

  • Engage in resistance training exercise (e.g. lifting weights) and weight bearing activity.
  • Consume enough dietary calcium.
  • Moderate alcohol, cola drinks, coffee and salt intake. Avoid smoking.
  • Seek medical advice especially around the time of menopause regarding bone density.

What is the role of exercise for osteoporosis?

It is never too late to exercise. High levels of physical activity and loading increases bone mass, while low levels may lead to less bone. Studies offer evidence that increased activity- either through dynamic exercises or high-intensity weight training improves bone mass, muscle strength, and/or balance thus translating to fewer falls and fractures. Exercise also helps a number of other problems as well as keeping you in good health.

A summary of exercise benefits follows:

  • Many studies support the beneficial effects of exercise
  • Bone adapts to the alterations in mechanical loading
  • The skeleton responds in a site- specific manner to mechanical loading
  • If the load is high enough then the bone will respond
  • An increase in bone mass density in specific areas needs adequate loads on specific bones
  • Physical activity may increase peak bone mass in childhood and adolescence; maintain bone mass in young adulthood, and slow bone loss in older subjects
  • Exercise may improve balance, strength, mobility, walking and lessen falls
  • Older postmenopausal women and even frail elderly can tolerate tailored strength training and resistance programs, improving muscle strength and bone mass density

What is the role of diet in osteoporosis?

A healthy balanced diet with foods containing calcium is strongly advised. E.g. canned fish with bones, green leafy vegetables (except spinach), nuts (almonds), cereals and legumes. Please speak to your doctor or contact your local dietician for more information. The recommended daily intake of calcium for women 19-54 years in Australia is 800mg, the amount provided by around 600ml of milk.

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For more information on osteoporosis you can download our one minute risk test here or visit Osteoporosis Australia by clicking on the link below: