Osteoporosis: the silent epidemic that kills more than 5,000 women a year

The World Congress on Osteoporosis opened today in Krakow. An important appointment as a 50-year-old woman is as likely to die from a hip fracture as to develop breast cancer. Osteoporosis affects 3 million women in France. Only 500,000 know that they are affected.

Among the many silent diseases, one of the most insidious is called osteoporosis. The bone is a living matter, with a complex architecture, like a roof structure and whose solidity results from a balance between two types of cells: some that solidify and others that eliminate the dead parts and therefore weaken it. And if there are too many cells that cleanse, we end up with osteoporosis.

It is undeniably a family disease, but the influence of sex hormones, and a diet rich in calcium and an active lifestyle should not be overlooked. The skeleton is a kind of bone bank and we all live on credit from a certain age, women more than men. And the bone bank closes at the age of 30 years: the money for the future, that is to say the quantity and quality of bone, are defined at this age. After, the body has much more difficult to store the elements that will ensure the durability of the strength of our skeleton.

Osteoporosis kills more than the road!

Who says fragile bone, says more frequent fractures: each year, 376 000 fractures are due to osteoporosis, and with the aging of the population, one expects more than 500 000 in 2025! The number of annual deaths after a fracture related to osteoporosis in France exceeds the number of deaths by road accidents ...

All bones can be affected except those of the head, neck, hands and feet. The bones most affected by osteoporosis are those of the wrist, vertebrae and, most feared, the neck of the femur, because the latter is synonymous with 20% mortality at 1 year.

Although 10% of men can suffer from this disease, osteoporosis affects 30 to 40% of menopausal women, and more than half of women over 75 years of age. Indeed, the decrease in the secretion of female hormones causes an acceleration of bone loss of nearly 30% in the 10 years after menopause, that is still 3 to 4 kg of bone!

The occurrence of a fracture when one does not expect it

There are no signs that can alert before the osteoporotic fracture. Also to know the state of the bones, it is necessary to pass a painless examination: bone densitometry. This test assesses the density of the bone, which does not completely reflect the bone strength because, beside the weight of the bone, there is also the way it is built: its architecture.

This can be evaluated by CT and especially by micro-scanner, which makes very fine cuts and gives an idea of ​​the bone architecture. A 3e Parameter plays in the strength of the bone, the bone quality, that is to say the composition of the bone (protein architecture and bone crystal). This last dimension can only be evaluated on bone biopsy, which is performed only in case of disease.

No organized systematic screening

Current knowledge makes it possible to consider these fractures as preventable complications through treatment. However, there is no need for routine screening in all women after menopause, but prevention efforts need to be focused on women at risk. There are osteoporotic fracture risk scores that are available at different sites, including Aflar. It is important to perform them after menopause to see if you need to have a bone density test and start treatment.

Unloved treatment

Although halving the risk of fracture in only 3 to 5 years, current anti-osteoporosis treatments are poorly perceived by women: in recent years, very rare side effects (osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical fractures) have been reported. before by some alarmist sites. However, the anti-fracture benefit of these treatments far exceeds the very rare side effects. This is a certainty gained from millions of women treated. It is up to your doctor to choose which of the therapies will suit you, knowing that new treatments are being announced.

The Aflar (French Association for the fight against rheumatism) gives very complete information on osteoporosis:



All osteoporosis at 0 810 43 03 43.

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