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Skip Navigation Linksthe-silent-crippler-osteoporosis-awareness “The Silent Crippler” – Osteoporosis Awareness

Sometimes we take things for granted, especially when we are so used to having them in our lives. Getting up in the morning, walking towards the bathroom and starting our every-day living. But what if someday, getting up is not an option anymore, or leaves us in so much pain that we would rather prefer not getting up at all.

Having weak bones could have an effect on our lives and we need to be aware of “the silent crippler”, which is what osteoporosis is also known as, because a person usually doesn’t know that they have it until it’s too late.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced, leading to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture – particularly of the spine, wrists, hip, pelvis and upper arms. Bone loss is gradual and without warning signs until the disease is advanced in many affected people. Unfortunately, in many cases, the first real “symptom” is a broken bone, which can result in extreme pain and even death in severe cases.

Osteoporosis is not “an old woman’s disease”! This is a true misconception and in fact, bone loss in women can begin as early as the age of 25. Furthermore, new studies have shown the occurrence of osteoporosis in men is higher than previously thought.

In South Africa, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will possibly develop this disease within their lifetime – which means potentially between 4 and 6 million South Africans suffer from osteoporosis.

Various factors contribute to the risk of developing osteoporosis. Some of these factors include:


  • Being older than 65 years
  • Having broken a bone after the age of 50
  • Poor or fair health
  • Smoking
  • Being underweight for a specific height
  • Menopause before the age of 45
  • Not getting in enough calcium
  • More than two drinks of alcohol a day, several times a week
  • Poor vision
  • Not being physically active

Medical conditions

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic hepatic or renal disease
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


  • Oral glucocorticoids (steroids)
  • Cancer treatments (radiation, chemotherapy)
  • Thyroid medicine
  • Antiepileptic medications
  • Gonadal hormone suppression
  • Immunosuppressive agents

Suffering from

  • Rickets and osteomalacia
  • Kidney disease
  • Paget’s disease of bone
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Cushing’s disease

Rather being safe than sorry could prevent a lot of suffering. Never think it will not happen to you. The National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa’s Risk Assessment will help indicate if you need to take action as soon as possible.

To find a doctor near you, call 0861 102 265.

Help raise funds and awareness for osteoporosis by joining the Virtual fun run in November 2020.

Rattle them Bones Virtual fun run 27 – 29 November.


Although this communication has been prepared with due care and in good faith, it provides information and opinions of a general nature. The interpretations and opinions are those of the authors and are subject to change without notice. Simeka Health accepts no liability or responsibility if any information is incorrect or for any loss or damage, including but not limited to, direct, indirect or consequential loss, that may arise from reliance on information contained herein. It does not constitute advice and should not be accepted as such and no part thereof should be relied upon without seeking appropriate professional advice. Simeka Health (Pty) Ltd is an authorised Financial Services Provider.



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