Local looks to form osteoporosis support group 

Bone disease may be increasing among future generations

After a year and a half of living with osteoporosis on his own, Morgan Montgomery is now looking for support.

He wants to form a group made up of fellow osteoporosis sufferers so that they can help each other cope with the potentially debilitating disease.

"The whole thing behind getting a support group going is that the only other people who understand what you’re going through are people who’ve got it," he said.

Montgomery was diagnosed with osteoporosis last summer when he went to the doctor for what he thought was a strained back. It turns out he had a fairly advanced stage of the disease, in which bones become fragile and more likely to break.

It was a life-altering discovery for Montgomery.

In addition to the physical changes that come with having osteoporosis, he said there are also mental side affects.

There’s the depression that develops with suddenly finding yourself unable to physically do what you were once able to. There’s also the depression that comes with living with the daily pain of osteoporosis.

Montgomery knows he’s not alone.

There are an estimated 1.4 million Canadians who have osteoporosis, which means one in every four women over 50 and one in every eight men over 50 are affected.

The osteoporosis support group would be able to lend support to fellow sufferers in the Sea to Sky corridor, in addition to raising the profile of the disease.

If more people are aware of the risks said Montgomery, they will get a Bone Mineral Density scan, which can detect low bone density and predict the risk of fracture.

Though there is currently no cure for the disease, lifestyle changes and the correct medication can keep it in check.

In addition to BMD scans other things to keep in mind are eating a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, doing weight-bearing exercises and committing to a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol.

Current research from a Mayo Clinic study now shows that osteoporosis could be on the rise in future generations.

The study shows that over a 40-year period, the number of forearm fractures of people under 35 who live in Rochester, Minnesota, (the study area) increased by 42 per cent.

"Our study does not explain why these fracture rates increased, but the data raise concerns about whether the bone-mass development in today’s children may be impaired by other lifestyle and dietary factors such as increased soft drink consumption, decreased milk consumption or changing patterns of physical activity," said Dr. Sundeep Khosla, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the study’s primary investigator.

Co-investigator Dr. L. Joseph Melton said this could lead to fragile bone conditions later in life.

"Increasing rates for forearm fractures in children could mean we will see a dramatic increase in the risk for hip fractures and other more serious fractures when these children become older adults," he said.

If you are interested in joining an osteoporosis support group call Morgan Montgomery at 604-935-1947 or e-mail him at morganj@telus.net .

He said: "By putting myself out on the line then maybe people will respond."


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