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Drinking Milk is Not Enough to Prevent Osteoporosis!
Women, as they grow older, and especially after menopause, lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years after menopause! Although osteoporosis affects men as well, in the last three decades since 1960s, the number of osteoporotic hip fractures in Singapore rose five-fold per 100k population in women over the age of 50.
In April, the Osteoporosis Society of Singapore [OSS] launched a campaign encouraging postmenopausal women to take early action to protect their bone health, instead of delaying to after their first bone fracture.
Singapore has the highest number of osteoporotic fractures in Asia yet many postmenopausal women, to the frustration of doctors here, are leaving it to after they have had their first fracture before taking preventive action.
Studies show that one in every five patients usually dies within the first year after a hip fracture. Of those who survive, more than half will lose their ability to walk and will end up bedridden or wheelchair-bound.
Drinking your calcium in the form of milk while good for bone health is not enough for those at risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
You Might be of High Fracture Risk due to Osteoporosis
Once you have menopaused, the OSS is encouraging postmenopausal women to undergo bone mineral density (BMD) screening.
The OSTA test will determine if a postmenopausal woman is at high, moderate or low risk of having a low BMD. Those who are at high risk or moderate risk with other risk factors should have their BMD tested.
Patients with pre-existing osteoporotic fractures may heighten their risk of further fractures by two to four times. Therefore it will be prudent for patients with high risk of fractures to seek medical attention before their first fracture. The situation is expected to worsen when the proportion of Singapore population aged above 65 triples by 2030.
Too Late for More Milk to Prevent Osteoporosis
For osteoporotic patients, where the bone density has begun degenerating, medication is necessary as osteoporosis is a progressive one.
In a normal situation, drinking your milk and eating your cheese and sunning yourself for vitamin D will be good measures to build bone health but will not be sufficient when you identified with the bone degenerative condition – osteoporosis.
When faced with this, you need to medicate under your doctor’s supervision.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports that patients on medication reduce their risk for fracture by about 30-70%. But not all patients are found to be compliant.
Many stop taking their prescribed medication or fail to take it regularly. This is largely because osteoporosis is not associated with any visible to the eye symptoms. As a result, many fail to realise the hidden severity of osteoporosis until it is too late – after a fracture.
Patient compliance with prescribed treatment is most important whether they take oral medication or opt for the convenience of injections.
Patients who find it hard to comply with the regime of taking oral medication regularly, can consider other options such as yearly intravenous infusions.
Those with previous fractures, high-risk scores on OSTA should seek their doctor’s advice right away. Without medication, their risks of further fractures double or rise as high as four times.