​Continued from previous page.

Dr Manju Chandran, Senior Consultant and Director of the Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Unit (Department of Endocrinology) at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares tips to prevent osteroporosis (the thinning and weakening of bones).

3. Limit your alcohol intake

Alcohol is thought to decrease bone formation and reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium. So keep to two drinks a day or less.

4. Moderate your intake of caffeine

Caffeine, found naturally in coffee and tea, ‘leeches’ calcium from our bones. So it is best to keep to two to three cups of coffee or tea a day, especially if you do not eat enough calcium. Also keep in mind that caffeine is often added to soft drinks.

5. Cut down on salty food

Eating too much sodium can inhibit absorption of calcium in our bodies.

6. Do weight-bearing and strengthening exercises

Weight-bearing exercises make our bones stronger and denser. Exercises such as dancing, jogging and rope jumping are all weight-bearing exercises. To strengthen our bones, try weight lifting, weight machines and elastic bands. For those who cannot do high impact exercises, low impact exercises such as walking, low impact aerobics or exercising on cross-training machines are alternatives.

7. Improve your balance and flexibility

Better balance and flexibility will reduce your risk of falls. Exercises such as tai chi, pilates and yoga improve balance and flexibility.

8. Maintain a healthy weight

A low body weight increases the risk of osteoporosis, as does a previous history of anorexia nervosa. But this does not mean that heavier people don’t get osteoporosis. Having a normal weight is beneficial for general health and reduces the risk of other chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

9. Don’t smoke

Smoking is thought to increase bone loss by reducing the absorption of calcium in our bodies. In women, smoking may reduce the amount of oestrogen produced.

10. Consult a doctor if you have lost height over the years

All of us lose some of our height as we grow older, but if you lose 6cm or more, there is a high chance you may have osteoporosis. It is advisable to consult a doctor, especially if you belong to the high-risk group.

Calculate your risk:

For post-menopausal women, there is an easy formula to calculate the risk of osteoporosis. Called osteoporosis self-assessment tool (OSTA), it subtracts a woman’s weight from her age to get a risk score, i.e. age (years) – weight (kilograms). The risk scores are as follows:

OSTA risk score ​Risk
​> 20 ​High
​0 – 20 ​Moderate
​< 0 ​Low

See the previous page to learn how osteoporosis affects the bones

Ref: W09

Check out other articles on osteoporosis:

Osteoporosis: Foods to Avoid

Osteoporosis: How to Know If You Are At Risk

Better Bone Health for Women: Tips for Every Age Group

Osteoporosis Treatment

Osteoporosis in Men: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Osteoporosis in Singapore