By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
Due to medical advancement, people can live longer and longer. As a result, the prevalence of osteoporosis is increasing. Osteoporosis is a disease of longevity. As we grow older, the bones becomes thinner and weaker. In contrast to what most people believe, people with osteoporosis do not exhibit any symptoms. Therefore, osteoporosis is called a “silent disease”. The first symptom occurs when there is fragility fracture.
By the time the bone is fractured due to trivial fall, it is too late. It is considered as severe osteoporosis. At this stage treating osteoporosis is important to maintain the bone density.
Early preventative measures are the keys. Identify and correct low calcium and vitamin D levels in the blood. Bone density scan to detect osteoporosis is recommended for people above the age of 50.
Although the thinning of the bone is controlled genetically to some extent, there are many things you can do to slow down the rate of thinning of the bone.
- Consume adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D
- Be physically active
- Stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake
- Keep the body mass index within the normal range. Low body mass index is a risk factor of osteoporosis
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.