MEDIA RELEASE: A lucky break
Patients like Leda Jarrett are being assessed for osteoporosis when they come to St. Joseph’s with a fracture that raises a red flag for the bone-weakening disease.
November is Osteoporosis Awareness Month in Canada
London, Ontario – It was Leda Jarrett’s first ever broken bone and it has meant more than a year of recovery. Yet the 69-year-old is “happy as a clam” with what has happened since her fall.
After an emergency room visit where the wrist fracture was diagnosed and treated, Leda was referred to the Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC) at St. Joseph’s Hospital for an appointment a week later. While registering, a clinician came to talk to her about her medical history and osteoporosis. Within minutes, she was undergoing a bone mineral density test, with the results ready for review at her HULC appointment.
“It was a whirlwind but I was totally amazed,” says Leda. “Nothing but good has come of the break.”
The “good” Leda refers to is learning the break was due to osteoporosis and being fast tracked to St. Joseph’s Osteoporosis and Bone Disease Program, where care is focused on prevention.
Osteoporosis is called the “silent thief” because it quietly, slowly weakens bones and often goes undetected, even after a break occurs, explains endocrinologist Dr. Kristin Clemens. Fractures caused by this bone-deteriorating condition are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.
The fallout can be debilitating, even deadly. Yet many patients with the type of breaks that are a red flag for osteoporosis – like the fractured wrist Leda experienced – don’t get checked for the disease, adds Dr. Clemens.
At St. Joseph’s, a partnership between orthopedic specialists, endocrinologists and Osteoporosis Canada, is spotting those red flags and providing patients with the proper care and follow up they need to prevent further fractures. Patients aged 50 years and older who come to HULC with a “fragility” fracture – a fracture caused by a fall from a standing height or less – are identified, assessed for their risk of osteoporosis, and sent for imaging and follow up with the Osteoporosis and Bone Disease Program. Follow-up data on patients seen by this fracture prevention program shows the program is successfully catching undiagnosed osteoporosis.
Leda had a history of low bone density and, years ago, received infusions of a drug to treat the condition. For the past five years, however, she thought she was fine – until she fell in her garden and broke her wrist. Now, through diet, exercise, treatment, education and ongoing monitoring, she’s hoping her first broken bone was also her last.
Read Leda's full story. Media are invited to interview Leda Jarett and Dr. Kristin Clemens to highlight the importance of catching osteoporosis early. To arrange, please contact:
Dahlia Reich, Communication and Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
519 646-6100 ext. 65294, Cell 519 619-0971
About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care.