Eva Benedicta Saraiva, 77, lives in the Botafogo neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. Eva was diagnosed with osteoporosis over a year ago, following a hip fracture. Not long after the hip fracture, she suffered a spinal fracture which was extremely painful and greatly reduced her mobility for some time.
Despite the serious situation, Eva did not give up. She found a specialized clinic where she was diagnosed and able to benefit from a targeted physiotherapy programme which helped immensely in her recovery. She currently has a doctor who monitors her osteoporosis treatment which includes calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Like many older people, Eva must also take medication for other health problems, including high blood pressure, anaemia and a thyroid disorder.
With great perseverance and willpower, Eva is able to carry out many of her routine daily activities – she still washes, irons, sweeps, and cooks for herself and her husband. Since she is unable to reach up, Eva uses a broom to knock down objects on higher shelves. She also goes to church services and to the supermarket or even just for a leisurely stroll whenever possible, although almost always accompanied by her husband, Francisco. His steady support makes her less fearful of falling on the poorly maintained city sidewalks.
“I cannot carry bags, but I know that walking is an important part of my treatment. The fact that I really enjoy walking helps a lot too,” she said. Eva and her husband don’t have a car, so they often ride the bus around town. “I am as cautious as possible when getting on or off the bus, but I never refrain from doing anything I need or want to do. If I have a handrail and someone to help me, I’ll go anywhere.”
Eva welcomes and supports the initiatives undertaken in Brasil by FENAPCO (National Federation of Osteoporosis Patients Associations). Looking back at these past years of treatment, she concludes that it is very important that people know what osteoporosis is and how to prevent it.