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By Cheryle Jones Syracuse
Family and Consumer Science Staff
NC Cooperative Extension Service
Brunswick County Center
During the past year, Diana Jones, RN, from the Brunswick County Health Department, and I have taught classes about osteoporosis throughout Brunswick County. We’ve conducted classes at several of the libraries and at the Government Center in Bolivia.
Anyone who knows someone who has broken a bone due to osteoporosis understands the pain and potential disability caused by this disease. Characterized by fragile bones, osteoporosis is a major public health problem and a concern to many people locally.
These classes have been attended by both men and women alike. Nearly half of all women and a quarter of all men older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. With our aging population, the increase in bone density testing and availability of information about the disease these classes were attended by many people who have been identified as at risk or diagnosed with osteoporosis.
While these statistics can be frightening, learning more about osteoporosis and how to prevent and treat the disease can lead to improved quality of life when living with osteoporosis.
At all the classes there were lots of questions about supplements and medications used to prevent and treat osteoporosis. There has also been much interest in the types of exercise that can help people prevent osteoporosis and also the types of movement that would be harmful to those with the disease.
To help answer these questions, The Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center at Brunswick Community College, in conjunction with the NC Cooperative Extension Service, is sponsoring a two-part lunch and learn series called “Living with Osteoporosis.” These classes will take place from 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, and Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Fitness & Aquatics Center Media Room on the campus of BCC in Supply. For those who attended one of the classes taught last year, please note that these are expanded programs and we have invited specialists in pharmacy and physical therapy to speak.
On Jan. 19, I’ll start off with an overview of osteoporosis, the risk factors and prevention and nutrition tips. The main speaker that day will be Kim Thrasher, licensed pharmacist, clinical associate professor at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and N.C. Osteoporosis Foundation board member.
She’ll talk about diagnosing, supplements and pharmaceuticals. The safety and effectiveness of some of the drugs currently used to treat osteoporosis has been in the news lately and Thrasher will address these topics and be available to answer questions.
The class on Jan. 26 will focus on exercises that can help prevent osteoporosis and exercises that can help build bone and increase balance. We’ll also talk about exercises that people with osteoporosis should avoid. There will also be a discussion on fall prevention both inside and outside the home and on a variety of surfaces including the pool deck.
Speakers for this class will include physical therapists from Brunswick Physical Therapy; Rene Tarquinio, social worker and Matter of Balance coach with Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. (BRSI); and Stacey Reardon, aquatics coordinator at the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center at BCC.
The “Living with Osteoporosis” series is free of charge, open to the community, and will include a bone healthy lunch. Space is limited. Call 846-2348 to reserve your space. While attendance at both sessions would be beneficial, it is not necessary.
This program is funded through a grant from the North Carolina Osteoporosis Foundation. More information on osteoporosis can be found on its website www.ncosteoporosisfoundation.org.