Osteoporosis: what is it and are you at risk? The Department of Geriatric Medicine at Changi General Hospital (CGH) answers this and more.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis literally means ‘bones with holes’. It is a bone disease that occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. The bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily.
Most people do not realise they have osteoporosis until a fracture happens, as there are usually no signs or symptoms. This is why osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’.
Osteoporosis particularly affects women in their middle and later years, although
some men are also affected. Women are four times more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men. Half of women over the age of 50 will experience a fracture to their hip, wrist, spine, or other bone due to osteoporosis.
Are you at risk of developing osteoporosis?
Some factors that may predispose an individual to osteoporosis include:
Family history of osteoporosis
Inadequate amounts of dietary calcium
Low vitamin D levels
Alcohol intake of more than two standard drinks per day
Early menopause (before the age of 45)
Long-term use of medication such as corticosteroids and anti-epileptics
Medical history, such as thyroid disease or an overactive thyroid gland
Check out other articles on osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis: Foods to Avoid
Osteoporosis: How It Affects Your Bones
Better Bone Health for Women: Tips for Every Age Group
Osteoporosis in Men: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Osteoporosis in Singapore