Bone Health & Osteoporosis Unit (Aonad Sláinte Cnámh & Oistéapóróise)

Welcome to the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Unit at Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing.

Osteoporosis is a world-wide health issue and the most common skeletal disorder today, an estimated 300,000 people in Ireland currently suffer from it. Osteoporosis occurs when there is accelerated bone loss due to an imbalance between the rate of new bone formation and the normal breakdown and removal of bone through resorption. After the age of 50, 20% of men and 50% of women will develop a fracture due to Osteoporosis — yet most people are unaware of declining bone health until a fracture occurs.

The Bone Health and Osteoporosis team is led by Professor J. Bernard Walsh, Dr Miriam Casey and Dr Kevin McCarroll.  There are more than 7,500 patient attendances annually. The Unit receives referrals from consultant hospital colleagues and general practitioners throughout Ireland. It is currently equipped with two state-of-the-art high resolution Hologic Horizon type A DXA scanners and, together with the department of Clinical Biochemistry in St James’s Hospital, it has access to the most up to date bone biochemistry and bone turnover markers as well as a modern tandem mass spectrometer for accurate measurement of serum vitamin D levels.

Early detection of Osteoporosis can prevent bone density loss and skeletal damage.  The following behaviours support bone health:

  • Exercise: Regular weight-bearing exercises and muscle strengthening are good for your bones
  • Diet: The recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D provide numerous benefits
  • Stop Smoking: Smoking slows the healing of bones and may lead to fractures
  • Talk to Your GP: If you are worried about your bone health, discuss it with your GP
  • Get Tested: A Bone Density Test will confirm the health of your bones

Learn more about fragile bones, Osteoporosis and fracture prevention here.