World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is here. This October 20th gives us an excellent opportunity to reflect on the millions of people affected by this disease, right? Well, yes and no.
Using WOD as a means of spreading the word and teaching about osteoporosis is a fantastic initiative of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF). It will enlighten people who were previously oblivious to this disease and it will broaden the knowledge of those who knew about it, but thought it was just an unavoidable byproduct of aging. However, aging and osteoporosis are very serious multilayered matters. They should be focal concerns for all of us, not just during WOD, but each and every day.
Why? Well, for starters, let’s see what osteoporosis is and what are the effects of the disease in our bodies. Osteoporosis is a systemic bone disease characterized by the deterioration of the microarchitectural bone structure and by a low bone mass. This, of course, translates into brittle bones, which in turn greatly increase fracture risk. How great of an increase? More than 1.5 million fractures derived from osteoporosis are diagnosed annually. That means that in the minute it took you to read this section of the post, approximately 3 new fractures have been diagnosed. By the end of the day, more than 4,000 new fractures will have to be treated. Those patients with a severe degree of osteoporosis are risking a fracture just by sneezing. And I’m not making this up:
The IOF has launched a great website for World Osteoporosis Day, with this and lots of other resources that you’ll be able to share on social media to increase awareness about the disease and its consequences. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) is hoping that 2020-2030 will be the decade of healthy aging and has launched the “Aging and Life Course” initiative, where osteoporosis is one of the main concerns.
We, and by we I’m referring to scientists, bioengineers, biotech companies, pharma companies, etc., should be doing our best not just to promote World Osteoporosis Day, but to use it as inspiration to create new technologies and drugs for diagnostic aid and treatment. For QUIBIM, musculoskeletal has been one of our main product lines since our beginnings, especially the trabecular bone characterization through magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT). You can find a previous post describing the advantages of QUIBIM tools and how to use them here.
According to the IOF, more than 200 million people worldwide suffer from osteoporosis. That’s 200 million reasons to try to tackle this disease every day.
Image source: http://www.worldosteoporosisday.org/resources