Osteoporosis, The Silent Disease
Osteoporosis is called ‘the silent disease’ for a reason. During the early stages of the condition, you will typically have no signs and symptoms. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you start to feel back pain, your posture will become stooped, and you will be more prone to bone fractures.
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that causes bone to become weak and brittle. For severe cases, even a mild fall or slight bending can cause a bone fracture. Our bone is a living tissue, which is being constantly renewed. Osteoporosis happens when the formation to new bones is slow to replace old bones, or when our body ultimately fails to form enough new bone. Although osteoporosis is sex and race blind, affecting both men and women of all races, women who are past menopause are more prone to it.
In Singapore, over the last 30 years, cases of hip fractures have increased five times in women aged 50 and above, and 1.5 times in men of the same age group. The bad news? It is a serious and debilitating condition. The good news? Osteoporosis can be prevented.
Say No To Bone Loss
Mind Your Diet
Calcium is your bones’ best friend. They help your body build strong bones. So find every opportunity to incorporate low-fat milk and non-fat yoghurt into your diet, as these are healthy sources of calcium. Fish and greens are also rich in calcium, so is soy. Sardines and salmons are your best bets, as well as brocolli, kale and bok choy.
You hear it often enought, and we say it again. Cigarette smoking is bad for your health. Cigarette smoke is packed with massive amounts of free radicals that cause a chain-reaction of damage throughout the body, including cells, organs, and hormones that work together to keep your bones strong and healthy. Amongst women, one in eight hip fractures is linked to long-term cigarette use. Studies also confirm that smokers tend to heal fractures slower than non-smokers.
To help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis, at least a 30-minute exercise daily is recommended. Exercises occupied with weight lifting help to simulate bone formation and make bone become stronger. It also helps to improve your balance and flexibility, which is necessary to reduce risks of falls that can cause fractures. Aerobics, dancing, jogging, Tai Chi, yoga, tennis, weight lifting and even climbing stairs are some of the recommendation exercises you can try.
Cut Back on Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption is bad for you on so many levels. When you drink too much alcohol, your body fails to absorb calcium and Vitamin D properly and adequately. As much as possible, limit your drink to one a day for women and two drinks a day for men. Cortisol and parathyroid hormones, which are both potentially bone damaging, are seen in people with alcoholism. What’s more, high alcohol intake also puts osteoblasts, the bone-making cells, at risk.
Take Bone Mineral Density Test
Osteoporosis can be prevented. Do a bone mineral density test early to check whether you are at risk of Osteoporosis.