Today osteoporosis is a condition that affects people the world over, with numbers continuing to rise, due to the growing number of elderly in super-aged societies. Osteoporosis is considered a “silent danger” because its symptoms are not evident in the early stages; diagnosis is only made after a fall and a resultant fracture.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle and weak due calcium and vitamin deficiencies. This makes it harder for bones to withstand pressure (weight), and some individuals may experience a loss of height of up to 3 cm, others may experience back pain from falls or lifting heavy objects.
People with osteoporosis will find that their bones are extremely brittle and may fracture from minimal impact or sharp twist movements, including sneezing. Spine fractures can occur easily which may and can lead to paralysis and a poorer quality of life.
A fracture that occurs for the first time as a result of Osteoporosis, will often lead to a 2nd and 3rd fracture.
“Fractures as a result of osteoporosis are highly dangerous, therefore prevention and prompt treatment of osteoporosis are vital”
Q: Is it true that only women get osteoporosis, and men and children don’t?
A: This is not entirely true. Although osteoporosis is most commonly found in females, it is also prevalent in men, especially those who are older in age. In terms of hip fracture specifically, it has been observed that the mortality rate for is higher for men. As for children and adolescents, whilst osteoporosis is rare, it can develop as a result of other underlying conditions, or the medications used to treat those conditions (secondary osteoporosis) or occasionally, idiopathic osteoporosis can arise which has no identifiable cause.
Q: Can drinking milk and exercising prevent osteoporosis?
A: There are a number of other factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, some of which cannot be controlled, such as one’s family genetic history, and one’s age. Research studies have not conclusively proved that drinking milk reduces the chances of osteoporosis.
Q: Is it true that most people won’t require vitamin D supplements as the body is capable of creating its own?
A: This is a common misunderstanding, because it is so sunny in Thailand. Thai people often believe that the vitamin D obtained from sunlight will be sufficient. However, statistics indicate that more than 50% of post-menopausal women in Thailand suffer osteoporosis due to vitamin D deficiency. Sun block lotions can prevent Vitamin D from being absorbed into the body properly, or sufficiently. Thus, people who do not receive sunlight, such as older citizens who spend most of their time indoors, should take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Although osteoporosis can be found in people of all ages and sex, but especially in older individuals, knowing the risk factors can help to prevent, avoid, or remedy osteoporosis. This may involve changing habits, which can delay or reduce symptom onset of osteoporosis.
Women have a higher chance of osteoporosis than men because on average they have approximately 10-30% less bone mass than men. Furthermore, after menopause, women will experience bone deterioration at a rate of 3.5% per year. The average age for menopause in women is 50 years and during, this period, the body produces less estrogen, causing bones to become brittle and contributing to fracture.
Osteoporosis is considered a silent killer as early symptoms are not noticeable. Diagnosis is usually made following a fall or fracture. Common symptoms include back pain, which will worsen as the condition progresses. It can cause detrimental effects in the spine, hips, and wrists.
Women who are at the menopause stage of their lives should take extra care with their health. They should attempt to reduce stress and eat healthy foods that are high in calcium such as dried shrimp, red beans, and various vegetables. This can attribute to a higher bone mineral density. For postmenopausal women calcium will not make bones stronger, but it will prevent deterioration.
It is recommended to get regular exercise 2-3 times a week for at least an hour each time; this can help to preserve calcium within the bones. Quitting, or at least reducing smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as taking preventative measures against falls will all help to prevent osteoporosis.
Prevention of Osteoporosis is not only for older people, measures can be taken from an early age to prevent this condition developing in the future.
Foods that provide a high amount of calcium include leafy greens such as broccoli, milk, sardines (with bone), small fishes (with bone), dried shrimp, tofu, and black sesame.
Vitamin D Helps the body to absorb calcium. It is recommended that the body consumes 400-800 units of vitamin D per day.
1 glass of milk =100 units of vitamin d and 300 milligrams of calcium
Measuring Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is a safe, painless, process that is able to give information about all important bone structures. Diagnosis can then be made according to WHO standards, with regards to, for example, the state of the lumbar spine and hip, and will be expressed as numbers of standard deviation.
X-rays can also be effective in identifying areas that may be affected by osteoporosis, such as bone thickness and signs of cracks. In some cases fractures and spinal stenosis will be evident.
Simple steps you can take at home to prevent indoor accidents, prevent fractures from falling, or any impacts that can cause imbalance, especially in older family members
Contact 1719. to inquire about prevention and treatment of osteporosis