Osteopenia and osteoporosis led to years of debilitating fractures and pain for NSW woman Carole David.
When she turned 50 the active, health consious business consultant, had her first bone scan "to mark the significant milestone". The results were surprising.
Carole found she had osteopenia (a decrease in bone mineral density not low enough to be considered osteoporosis) in both her spine and hips.
"I was shocked because I've always maintained such a healthy, active life. I also have no known family history and I had minimal understanding of the disease back then - I mistakenly thought it was only a disease of older people. I never thought someone of my age could develop osteopenia," said Carole.
But worse was to come.
Carole spent the ensuing years in and out of hospital emergency departments after fracturing multiple bones, including her wrist, ribs and sternum - each of which was treated as an individual break.
I mistakenly thought it was only a disease of older people. I never thought someone of my age could develop osteopenia.- Carole David
In 2015, while cleaning out a garden drain, Carole then 62, was startled by a lizard that jumped off the deck onto her shoulder. "I was surprised, so moved abruptly, and this led to severe pain," Carole said.
Not long after Carole, began to experience pain in her groin. She visited her GP and was referred to a back specialist, a gastroenterologist and a gynaecologist. Numerous tests and hospital stays followed until finally scans revealed Carole had fractures in her spine and these were the source of her ongoing and severe pain.
Carole spent the following three months hospitalised. "My first round of rehabilitation went poorly and I fractured a few more bones in my spine as a result," said Carole.
After returning home, Carole continued rehabilitation to rebuild the strength of her spine.
It's time that people took their bone health very seriously, and recognised that by taking action sooner rather than later, painful fractures may be avoided.- Carole David
Having been diagnosed with osteoporosis, Carole was given a different medication. She has since tried various options and has finally found significant results with her most recent treatment.
"You just don't realise, or recognise, the damage that fractures can cause until they occur," Carole said. "Living with pain caused by permanent damage to your spine, changes your life."
Now aged 69, Carole has lost nine centimetres in height. She visits her osteoporosis specialist regularly and exercises for several hours a day. Her medication is strengthening and helping rebuild her bones, so much so, that a recent fall did not result in a fracture.
Carole has also become an advocate for Healthy Bones Australia encouraging health professionals and the public to make bone health a priority. She supports greater community awareness of osteoporosis, and better access to osteoporosis treatments.
"It's time that people took their bone health very seriously, and recognised that by taking action sooner rather than later, painful fractures may be avoided," she said.
Healthy Bones Australia has a free Know Your Bones, Bone Health Assessment Tool on it's website.
The prevention and awareness program was developed by Healthy Bones Australia and Garvan Institute of Medical Research based on Australian research.
More than 108,000 Australians have completed the self-assessment which is an easy first step to understanding any risk factors for poor bone health allowing discuss with a doctor if any risks are identified.