Response to an article in the Daily Mail ‘A glass of wine a day ‘protects women against brittle bones’ 11 July 2012

An article in the Daily Mail this week reported on research published online in Menopause that found 1 or 2 glasses of wine a day protected women against Osteoporosis.

However, it is important to point out that in this study, only women drinking moderate amounts (1 or 2 units per day) had stronger bones. According to the National Osteoporosis Society, more than 3 units of alcohol per day can INCREASE your risk of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bones’ and it is a condition where the bones of the skeletal system become weaker, putting patients with the condition at greater risk of a fracture (broken bone) following a minor accident/fall.

In the UK, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 years of age will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture. Your risk of developing osteoporosis is partly determined by your genetics but lifestyle also plays a significant role. Some of the factors which affect the strength of your bones and therefore your risk of developing osteoporosis include diet, exercise, smoking history and, as mentioned above, alcohol intake.

Physiotherapy intervention has been shown to be effective for improving pain, function and quality of life for individuals who have suffered a fracture related to osteoporosis. Physiotherapists are experts in prescribing exercise programmes which will not only help keep your bones strong but that will also help reduce your risk of falling and therefore your risk of injury.

Another factor that affects the health of our bones is our vitamin D levels. The best natural source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight and the current recommendation is to get one or two 10 minute periods of exposure to sunlight between 11am and 3pm each day. Fortunately even exposure on cloudy days is helpful – just as well, given our recent spell of wet weather!

At Central Health Physiotherapy we will soon be launching a service for patients who not only have been diagnosed with osteoporosis but also for those who are concerned that they may be at risk.  Our team will be able to provide education about the condition, how to modify your lifestyle and will prescribe an individually tailored exercise programme with follow-up monitoring.  Please email us if you want to know more about this upcoming service or if you would like more information the National Osteoporosis Society website contains lots of useful resources.

Lauren Kerr

Lauren Kerr is a manager with Central Health Physiotherapy. She is based at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and manages the physiotherapy services for both the Central Health Physiotherapy outpatients, and also the Chelsea Pensioners. She specialises in acute orthopaedic rehabilitation and palliative rehabilitation and recovery after breast cancer surgery.

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