Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week

October 12-20 of each year marks the annual global event of Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week. During the course of this week, activities focused on disorders including arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis and trauma are highlighted with the hope to improve overall health. The events and projects organized by individuals and organizations worldwide are designed to raise awareness of prevention, disease management and treatments as well as advances in a number of areas.

At FiftyLives, we want to make sure you have the information available to you to be healthy in order to lead a fulfilling and productive life. The importance of this week can be quickly found by reading these sobering facts:

  •  ”Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people.(2)
  •  Musculoskeletal conditions include back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis and childhood conditions.
  •  Unless actions are taken now, the global prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions is predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy, changes in risk factors and availability of appropriate prevention measures.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life. Treatment and lost wage costs associated with musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. alone was estimated at $950 billion in 2004 to 2006 - equal to 7.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Research funding is currently less than 2 percent of the National Institutes of Health annual budget, despite the high costs associated with these conditions.
  • Since 2011, when ”Baby Boomers” became beneficiaries of Medicare, the economic and societal cost of bone and joint health began to escalate and is expected to continue for decades.”

Throughout the week, various organizations have their own day to make sure the important message is heard.

World Arthritis Day — October 12

“The topic for World Arthritis Day (WAD) in 2013 – 2014 is healthy ageing for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). It covers the physical and mental changes that occur as part of the ageing process from birth throughout our lifespan, as well as all the other factors that affect our ability to enjoy an optimal quality of life, including access to buildings, transport, technologies, medicines and treatments; societal attitudes; the lifestyle choices we make, and more.”

Learn all of the things you can do to help to get up and to get moving on their website.

World Spine Day — October 16

Spinal disorders, such as back pain, neck pain, scoliosis and disc disease, to name a few are common, and they can have a profound effect on a person’s overall health, impacting a person’s ability to work, to enjoy everyday activities and even disrupting healthy sleep patterns.

Research has demonstrated that poor postures and inactivity can contribute to the development of back pain and other spinal disorders.

The good news is that many of these common problems can be easily avoided!

That’s why this year’s theme for World Spine Day is “Straighten Up and Move,” focusing on the importance of proper posture and movement in maintaining good spinal health. To help mark World Spine Day, participating health care providers and organizations around the world will provide important information, tips and tools to help prevent many of these spinal disorders.

Now is the time to raise awareness - and the reason for Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week.

Learn how you can improve your spinal health here.

World Trauma Day — October 17

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), trauma is a major cause of death and disability across the world.

WHO research has shown that at least 50 percent of road deaths occurring in developing countries could have been prevented with effective interference after trauma has occurred, that is:

  • Immediate pre-hospital care
  • Adequate knowledge of handling emergency situations (involves training of personnel)
  • Adequate supply of pre-hospital care equipment and facilities (enough ambulances and other medical supplies)

Commemoration of World Trauma Day emphasises the importance of saving and protecting a life during the most critical moments and preparing and applying critical measures to deal with and avoid trauma fatalities.

World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day — October 19

“A startling increase in the frequency of severe vitamin D deficiency is being reported in the U.S. and other countries. This severe deficiency can have a devastating impact on a child’s musculoskeletal system, says the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI).
“Our bodies require vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium from the diet to build strong bones which are the building blocks of a healthy body, and to make muscles move. Not enough vitamin D and calcium in growing children can make growth centers weak, keeping the bone from growing straight, or can make the bones too weak to support a
child’s body weight, resulting in broken bones,” said Dr. Ellen Raney of Shriners Hospitals for Children in Portland, Oregon.”

Learn why it’s important to know more about kids and Vitamin D deficiency.

World Osteoporosis Day — October 20

Strong bones makes strong women is the overriding theme. “Your risk of developing osteoporosis and fragility fractures is determined by a number of factors, some of which can be changed (e.g. exercise, nutrition and smoking) while others cannot (e.g. family history, age at menopause and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis). While peak bone mass is highly genetically determined, after 65 years of age genetics play a diminishing role in bone loss and other factors, such as exercise and nutrition, play an increasingly important role.

Maintaining a healthy skeleton involves five essential strategies to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Ensure a diet rich in bone-healthy nutrients
  3. Avoid negative lifestyle habits and maintain a healthy weight
  4. Identify the risk factors which you can’t change
  5. Talk to your doctor: get tested, get treated if required”

Additional information can be found here.

Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook as we post information throughout this week about each of these important health initiatives. 

Information for this post was provided by the USA Bone and Joint Initiative.

(1) United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 2011

(2) Burden of Major Musculoskeletal Conditions, Woolf & Pfleger, WHO Bulletin 2003; 81: 646-56

Tissue Recipient Bonnie Shares her Story on our Wall of Life

bonnie henderson“It’s a little dramatic to say that a patch of transplanted tissue is why I can walk today. But it’s part of the story.” Bonnie needed an MRI to determine why she was having decreased mobility and balance issues. The MRI found a large benign tumor wrapped three quarters of the way around her spinal cord. She had surgery to remove it and to patch her spine back up. To gain back her mobility after the surgery, she was advised to walk. And walk she did.

She didn’t realize until later when asked some routine questions while donating blood, that she might be a tissue recipient. After looking at her hospital medical records, she discovered that she was. When she read this on her medical records, “I burst into tears. It’s one thing to walk around picturing your spinal cord patched like a bicycle tire tube. It’s another thing to realize that parts of another human being are inside your body, helping to keep you upright and walking.”

Read Bonnie’s remarkable story here.