Osteoporosis in Singapore is getting more prevalent with the ageing population. It is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In a patient with osteoporosis, the bones begin losing their mineral content, leaving the skeleton brittle and prone to fractures. About 80 percent of people with osteoporosis are women. This is in part because their bone mass is generally less than men, and women tend to live longer than men. Osteoporosis occurs when your bone loses too much calcium and becomes weak. This is very hard to detect clinically and is usually discovered only after a fracture occurs, or if a person shows reduced height or a humping of the back, or suffers low back pain.
What causes Osteoporosis?
As a person ages, less bone is made and more bone is lost. In women after menopause, the supply of estrogen decreases and the rate of bone loss increases even further. This is why post-menopausal women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. There are also many other factors that contribute to bone loss such as illnesses, medication and lifestyle choices.
RISK FACTORS INCLUDE:
- Non-traumatic Fracture
- Early Menopause before age 45
- A member of your immediate family who has osteoporosis
- Underweight or undernourished
- Smoking /Drinking too much alcohol
- Not exercising much or not being able to move for a long period of time
- Not enough calcium or vitamin D
- Certain illnesses /medicines
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis does not have a fixed set of symptoms; its foremost result is a higher risk of fractured bones. Osteoporotic fractures refer to those that happen in circumstances where normal individuals would not usually break bones; they are hence deemed to be fragility fractures. Common fragility fractures happen in the vertebral column, rib, hip and wrist.
What are the treatments for osteoporosis?
There are two categories of osteoporosis medications: anti-resorptive medications that slow bone loss and anabolic drugs that increase the rate of bone formation. A person with more severe bone loss or a broken bone may take a different medicine than a person with less bone loss.