World Osteoporosis Day! Interview with Sandi Elkin

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide



    Each year millions of mostly older adults will suffer a devastating hip fracture caused by a simple fall. Millions more will suffer fractures of the wrist, shoulder, pelvis or spine. These fractures are no accident! It is likely that the underlying cause is osteoporosis (International Osteoporosis Foundation World Osteoporosis Day 2012).


    October 20, 2012 is World Osteoporosis Day!  How will you bring awareness to this day and bone health?   


    Join me in welcoming a good friend who advocates for osteoporosis, exercise and volunteers her time to promote osteoporosis awareness and advocacy!  Sandi Elkin gives generously of her time, at the National Osteoporosis Foundations discussion forum, as their volunteer moderator and Group Leader.  Welcome Sandi!

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    More about Sandi:


    I am fracture free and living with osteoporosis.
    My interest in my bone loss prompted me to find a way to bring more awareness to bone health.
    I had the good fortune to be given the opportunity from The National Osteoporosis Foundation to open their online community support group in October 2007 as an online volunteer moderator.
    My advocacy interest is bringing awareness and knowledge of osteoporosis to fitness instructors and offering osteoporosis awareness presentations.
    An important part of my role as an advocate is offering consults for people newly diagnosed with bone loss.
    I have a joy of living and a passion for my advocacy work and volunteer work that I do the NOF.



    Sandi, how did you get involved in osteoporosis advocacy?


    Becoming an osteoporosis advocate was a natural progression. I started to get small whispers in my mind that once I found my way with bone loss, I would use my voice and experience to help other people newly diagnosed with osteoporosis.


    How long have you had osteoporosis and did this lead you into advocating for bone loss?


    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis of both hips and spine in 1999. Being diagnosed at a younger age, I felt it was important to bring more awareness to osteoporosis and use my diagnosis as the impetus to make a difference.


    What sort of things do you do to promote and advocate for bone loss?


    Since my advocacy interest is exercise for osteoporosis, I educate fitness instructors to expand their knowledge for the exercise needs of people with osteoporosis.


    How did you get involved with NOF?


    NOF had a Linking Up list for women with osteoporosis/osteopenia. Some of the women from the list formed an online email chat group. Part of my group participation was having contact with NOF and requesting information on osteoporosis.


    The email group decided to disband when we learned about the new NOF online community that was about to begin. At that time, a member of the email group suggested my name for volunteer work that I do for the NOF. I was privileged to be offered the NOF online community volunteer moderator position. I've been an online community volunteer moderator for NOF since October 2007.


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    With World Osteoporosis Day coming up, what do you think is the best way to bring awareness to bone loss?


    We must continue to shine the light on bone health and continue to let our voices be heard about osteoporosis.


    Do you think there is enough awareness of bone loss, or do you feel there are still many who think this can't possibly happen to them?


    I don't feel there is enough awareness about osteoporosis. I don't believe people want to think about bone loss or the possibility of fracture. Osteoporosis is not only physical, but also can cause emotional pain and fear.


    We need to continue to bring awareness of osteoporosis, including the physical, mental and emotional aspect until people realize that no one is exempt from taking the necessary steps to improve their bones.


    Osteoporosis in not a glamorous disorder, and it doesn't have immediate consequences--since fractures could happen going forward--so could this explain why many still don't worry about it all that much? Or is there some other reason for the complacency with this disorder?


    Since osteoporosis is known as the silent disease, I feel that people may not want to be treated or defined by the fragility of their bones.


    When I talked to my friends, about bone loss, they feel they are way too young for this and that this problem only affects women and those in their 80's. How would you handle this conversation, if you were in my situation, and what would you say?


    When I asked for a baseline DXA in my early 50's, my doctor said I was too young to be concerned about bone loss. Imagine the surprise when the DXA report showed osteoporosis in both hips and spine.


    All we can do is share our information and experiences with people and spark awareness and interest in osteoporosis.


    Do you have any words of wisdom you can give to those who are newly diagnosed with bone loss and are struggling with the stress of their disorder?


    Educate yourself with information and all of your options. Take responsibility for your bones and be your own advocate. Visit for information and on-line community support.


    Help me thank Sandi for graciously answering my questions and helping us to promote World Osteoporosis Day 2012 and bone health advocacy!


    Thank you Pam, for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.


    World Osteoporosis Day image courtesy of WOD 2012



Published On: October 17, 2012