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Posts tagged ‘osteoporosis’

One in two Sporean men at risk of developing bone-related diseases: study – Channel NewsAsia

One in two Singaporean men could be at risk of developing bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis. This is according to a study by Fonterra, a New Zealand-based dairy company.

SINGAPORE: One in two Singaporean men could be at risk of developing bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis.

This is according to a study by Fonterra, a New Zealand-based dairy company.

Osteoporosis is known as a “silent disease” as most people do not know they have it until they feel the first fracture.

The report is based on bone health checks done by Fonterra.

It conducted 15 million scans in Asia over three years.

The numbers show that 47 per cent of Singaporean men are in the “at risk” group, in line with the regional average for Asian men.

In Malaysia and the Philippines, nearly 40 per cent of men are at risk, while 52 per cent of men in Indonesia are at risk.

Doctors said the findings are not “completely surprising”.

This is because there has been an upward trend in osteoporosis cases in developed countries over the years, and Singapore is now catching up.

Osteoporosis specialist Dr Alvin Ng from The Endocrine Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital said there is a Vitamin D deficiency globally, and this could be because people living in urbanised environments lead relatively sedentary lifestyles.

Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. Having sufficient levels of Vitamin D and calcium is known to contribute to good bone health.

What is worrying is the lack of awareness of this disease among men, as osteoporosis has generally been associated with women.

Dr Ng said: “I think women are generally more prone to sit still, and the prevalence of women having osteoporosis is much higher, but we think that the awareness is very disparate between the two populations. But men do get more severe complications and higher mortality when they sustain a fragility fracture from osteoporosis, so in that way, we think that theres still an equal kind of impetus for us to reach out to men to make sure that they become more aware of this situation.” – CNA/xq

via  One in two Sporean men at risk of developing bone-related diseases: study – Channel NewsAsia.

Learn more about osteoporosis at the Star Health Fair 2013

OSTEOPOROSIS is a silent disease that affects millions worldwide. The pain and disability caused by it are often ignored or misdiagnosed as simple pains and more often than not remains largely untreated.

There are usually no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include back pain, fractures, loss of height, skeletal deformity and neck strain.

The word osteoporosis means “porous bones”, and occurs when bones lose an excessive amount of their protein and mineral content, particularly calcium.

Although the condition is more prevalent in women, it can also affect men, and does not distinguish between age, race or ethnic group.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has estimated that by 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women.

A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures, and similarly, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture.

Calcium is an important part of our diet throughout our lives. As we get older, we need even more calcium to help our bodies keep building new bone tissue.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following daily calcium intake for women past menopause and for men over 65: at least 1,300mg per day, but not more than 3,000mg. The recommendations from other organisations and individual countries vary, ranging from 1,000mg a day up to the 1,300mg recommended by the WHO.

Certain risk factors make a person more susceptible to low bone mass. These factors include:

> A family history of fractures or osteoporosis

> Smoking

> A thin frame

> Heavy drinking

> Certain medications, such as steroids

> Anorexia

The IOF has made the following observations in osteoporosis prevention:

> Childhood and adolescence are particularly valuable times to improve bone mass through exercise.

> Adequate levels of calcium intake can maximise the positive effect of physical activity on bone health during the growth period of children.

> Studies in children and adolescents have shown that supplementation with calcium, dairy calcium-enriched foods or milk enhances the rate of bone mineral acquisition.

> Physical activity reduces risk of osteoporosis and fractures and fall-related injuries.

> In the frail elderly, activity to improve balance and confidence may be valuable in fall prevention. Studies have shown that individuals who practice tai chi have a 47% decrease in falls and 25% the hip fracture rate of those who do not and that tai chi can be beneficial for retarding bone loss in weight-bearing bones in early postmenopausal women.

> Calcium supplementation has been shown to have a positive effect on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.

> Calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduces rates of bone loss and also fracture rates in older male and female adults, and the elderly. In institutionalised elderly women, this combined supplementation reduced hip fracture rates.

> Good nutrition is an important part of a successful rehabilitation programme in patients who have had an osteoporotic fracture. In frail, elderly, hip fracture patients, this is crucially important, as poor nutritional status can slow recovery, and increase susceptibility to further fractures.

Source: International Osteoporosis Foundation (

The Star –

Nasa team find ‘new way’ to spot osteoporosis

For many people, breaking a bone is their first clue that they have the condition

Nasa scientists believe they have found a way to spot osteoporosis bone loss at the earliest disease stages.

Currently, the condition can go undetected for years and may only be diagnosed with scans after weakening of the bones has led to a fracture.

The new test – designed partly with astronauts in mind as they too can suffer bone loss due to the microgravity of space – looks for traces of bone calcium in the urine.

The work is published in PNAS journal.

The technique developed by scientists at Arizona State University working with the US space agency analyses calcium isotopes – different atoms of the element calcium, derived from bone and each with their own specific number of neutrons.

This could therefore have a future role in the clinical evaluation of patients”

Dr Nicola Peel National Osteoporosis Society

The balance or abundance of these different isotopes changes when bone is destroyed and formed and can therefore indicate early changes in bone density.

To put it to the test, the researchers studied a dozen healthy volunteers whom they confined to bed rest for 30 days. Prolonged bed rest triggers bone loss.

The technique was able to detect bone loss after as little as one week of bed rest – long before changes in bone density would be detectable on conventional medical scans such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

And, unlike other biochemical tests for bone loss that look for blood markers of increased bone turnover, it can give a direct measure of net bone loss.
Astronaut in space
Weightlessness triggers bone loss
Lead researcher Prof Ariel Anbar said: “The next step is to see if it works as expected in patients with bone-altering diseases. That would open the door to clinical applications.”

As well as being useful for diagnosing osteoporosis it could help with monitoring other diseases that affect the bones, including cancer.

Nasa nutritionist Scott Smith said: “Nasa conducted these studies because astronauts in microgravity experience skeletal unloading and suffer bone loss. It’s one of the major problems in human spaceflight, and we need to find better ways to monitor and counteract it.”

Dr Nicola Peel of the National Osteoporosis Society in the UK said: “It is always exciting to see new techniques being developed with the potential to increase our understanding of the evolution and mechanism of bone disease.

“This approach of using calcium isotopes is very interesting and appears to have potential to detect very early changes of bone loss.

“This could therefore have a future role in the clinical evaluation of patients.”


Brittle bones

Too late: An X-ray is not the best way to detect osteoporosis because by the time it shows up on X-ray (as very thin and lighter bones), at least 30% of bone has been lost.

Osteoporosis leads to brittle bones that are more prone to fractures.

MY aunt went for a routine medical check-up. She had some X-rays and the doctor told her that she has osteoporosis. What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that is caused by decreased density in your bones. This causes your bone to be abnormal and porous, and thus much weaker and more fragile.

When your bones are weak, they fracture a lot more easily, especially with small injuries that would not otherwise break normal bone.

Osteoporosis is very, very common. In fact, every one out of two white women will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis in her lifetime.

After age 35, we start to lose 0.3 to 0.5% of our bone density every year as we age. If you are a woman, as long as you have your periods, you are protected by oestrogen.

But as soon as you hit menopause, this loss of bone density increases exponentially, as much as 2 to 4% loss per year.

But my aunt never knew she had osteoporosis before this. She certainly didn’t have any pain in her bones.

Unfortunately or fortunately, osteoporosis can be there for a long, long time without causing any symptoms, and you don’t know you have it until you have the first fracture.

Worse still, osteoporotic fractures can be present for years without any symptoms either.

Osteoporosis can cause fractures in your hips and spine, two places that can cause severe discomfort and disability. Hip fractures usually occur after a fall. A fracture of your spine can cause severe pain that radiates from your back to the sides of your body, causing chronic back pain.

For some people, osteoporosis can cause repeated spinal fractures, resulting in them losing their height. Their spines can also start to curve, giving a “dowager hump” hunchback appearance in their upper back. This is more commonly seen in older people.

And because your bones are so weak, even your feet can develop stress fractures during walking or stepping off a sidewalk.

Other than causing fractures, osteoporosis is not dangerous, is it? I mean, it’s not like heart disease.

Well, think again. Once you have a fracture, you lose mobility. If you are elderly, you can develop pneumonia and blood clots in your leg veins a lot more easily.

Pneumonia can kill you, especially if you are older. And these blood clots that develop in your leg veins can travel up to your lungs and get stuck there. This is called pulmonary embolism.

Studies have shown that osteoporosis is linked with an increased risk of death. In fact, 20% of women who have a hip fracture will die within the year as an indirect result of the fracture.

Scary, but true.

Is every woman at risk of osteoporosis, then?

Yes. As long as you are female, you are at risk. Other risk factors include:

> Being Asian

> Being thin and having a small body frame

> Menopause

> Having a family history of osteoporosis, such as if your mother and grandmother had osteoporosis

> If you have had a fracture as an adult

> If you smoke

> If you consume alcohol excessively

> If you don’t exercise

> If you don’t eat much calcium-containing foods, such as milk and other dairy products

> If you have vitamin D deficiency

> If you have malabsorption in your gut

> If you don’t have periods in your young age, such as if you exercise severely

> If you have been immobile because of disease, such as a stroke

> If you have diseases like chronic rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyrodism

> If you take certain long-term medications like steroids and heparin

Factor: Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis. —Reuters

Is X-ray the only way to diagnose osteoporosis?

No. An X-ray is not even the best way to detect osteoporosis because by the time it shows up on X-ray (as very thin and lighter bones), at least 30% of bone has been lost.

A DEXA scan or dual-energy X-ray absorptionmetry scan is the best test to perform. This test gives you your T score. If you have a T score of -2.5 and below, you have osteoporosis.

There’s a condition called osteopenia that is somewhere between normal and osteoporosis. This has a T score of -1 and -2.5

Is there anything I can do to combat osteoporosis?

You can take calcium supplements, but they are often not enough. You also need vitamin D. When you have menopause, you can take hormone replacement therapy.

And there are plenty of drugs such as the bisphosphonates that can prevent osteoporosis. Be careful though. Once you take a bisphosphonate, you must stay upright for at least 30 minutes or they can cause serious gastro-esophageal side effects.

The Star

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