Osteoporosis is a common condition in which the bones are brittle due to a low bone mass density or reduction in bone strength. As a result, a simple fall may actually fracture any brittle bones especially at the hips, wrist or the spine.
How soon could one be affected by Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is an age-related disease which is more common in women than men. Women with early menopause before the age 45, either naturally or through surgical removal of the ovaries, are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Besides, elderly who are confined in bed or with low physical activity may be more prone to osteoporosis. Men or some individuals may get osteoporosis at a younger age if they are on long term intake of some medication (e.g. steroids, thyroid medications) and certain medical conditions (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, hyperparathyroidism, eating disorder) place a person at a higher risk. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been greatly associated with the increased incidences of osteoporosis well.
What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis for men and women respectively?
Osteoporosis gradually develops over the years and may not have any signs or symptoms during the early stages. The symptoms usually appear in its advanced stages where fractures have occurred. Depending on the location of the fractured bone, one may feel pain at the affected area, for instance pain at the neck , lower back may indicate spinal bone fracture. Some may experience a loss of height over time or develop a stooped posture (also known as “dowager hump” as it is more common in women). Nevertheless, symptoms of osteoporosis in men are similar to that in women.
Tips on daily Bone Care for women
Regular physical activities especially the weight bearing exercises (e.g. tai-chi, yoga, aerobics) and resistance exercise (e.g. weight-lifting) can help build stronger bone and maintain healthy bone density. It is important to choose the correct exercises for your age and existing health conditions to prevent unnecessary injury. Besides, calcium intake either from natural food sources (e.g. milk products, green leafy vegetables, bean curd) or supplementation of at least 1,000mg coupled with vitamin D is recommended especially for women of menopausal age. Quitting smoking and the reduction of alcohol consumption are both beneficial to prevent or slow down the progression of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Self-assessment Tool for Asians (OSTA) is a quick and easy tool to assess the risk of developing osteoporosis. The current available OSTA chart is developed for Asians aged 45 and above and by using just the present weight and age, one can determine their osteoporosis risk of either being too high, moderate or low.
Bone Mineral Density (BMD) screening is the best way to diagnose osteoporosis especially if your OSTA shoes that your are in high or moderate risk group. However, even if you are in the low risk group, BMD screening is still recommended if you have any risk factors mentioned earlier.