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Awareness campaign as cases of osteoporosis are increasing

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RAISING awareness of osteoporosis and its risk factors is key, Guernsey's support group has said, as the numbers of those suffering with the condition continues to rise.

Currently, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 have the disease, which causes their bones to become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue.

Those numbers have increased, particularly for men, over the last 15 years. In 2002, one in three women and one in 12 men over the age of 50 were affected.

The Guernsey Osteoporosis Support Group wants to raise awareness of the condition and has planned, in conjunction with the National Osteoporosis Society, free symposium information and training sessions on Thursday 25 May for the public and health care professionals.

The increase in sufferers has been attributed to lifestyle factors and the ageing population.

Group chairman Linda Elliott said that was why raising awareness and providing education was key. Members had asked the group to arrange sessions for not only the public,but also for medical professionals who wanted to learn more about it.

'We want to make people aware and educate them about osteoporosis,' she said.

'It affects all ages of people and it is important people know about the risk factors.

'It is also about prevention.'

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While she said some risk factors, such as genetics, could not be changed, others could be, such as making sure children were getting enough calcium and vitamin D. A person's bone mass peaks at the age of 30.

'With some risk factors like genetics you can't do anything about them, but you can for matters that are related to lifestyle,' she added.

The session for medical professionals will take place in the same room from 6 to 9pm.

The public can book to attend by calling the PEH Osteoporosis Unit on 707690 or by emailing Linda Toulson at l.toulson@nos.org.uk.

Medical professionals can register by visiting www.nos.org.uk/studydays.

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