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Osteoporosis Risk for Singapore Men and Women

Osteoporosis in Singapore
osteoporosis in singapore

Osteoporosis in Singapore

SALES executive Sherilyn Ong’s grandmother suffered from osteoporosis and she is worried that, with her current lifestyle, she might be at risk of contracting the disease as well. The 25-year-old smokes occasionally,
goes clubbing every weekend and does not exercise at all things that could raise her chances of getting the disease, a condition where bones become fragile and are likely to break.

Since osteoporosis usually strikes women after menopause, a common myth is that it’s an older woman’s disease. But a study conducted in Britain by the University of Surrey and the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro last year showed that 20 per cent of women aged 20 to 29 had low bone mass, which could lead to early onset of osteoporosis. “I know I stand a high chance of getting osteoporosis because of my unhealthy
lifestyle, and also because of my grandmother’s medical history,” said Ms Ong, who is thinking of quitting smoking and going running every week.

It would be a good idea for her, as bone-mass loss begins at around age 30, potentially leading to the disease and causing painful fragility fractures. Dr Lau Tang Ching, president of the Osteoporosis Society (Singapore), said that a person’s bone mass usually starts declining by about 1 per cent a year after that age, and that a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits is the result of living in a busy, modern world can compound the risk of osteoporosis. Bone-mass deterioration can occur at a rate of 2 or 3 per cent a year, he added.
That, combined with bad lifestyle choices, means young people are at greater risk of developing this disease
in the future. Dr Bernard Thong, head and senior consultant of the Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology Department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, stressed that prevention is easier than cure when it comes to osteoporosis. And that specifically means reducing alcohol intake and smoking, increasing aerobic exercise and improving dietary calcium and vitamin D intake,said Dr Thong.

According to Ministry of Health clinical-practice guidelines released in January, the incidence of hip fracture
in Singapore has increased 1.5 times in men and five times in women since the 1960s. One in five die within a year after sustaining a hip fracture. About 800 to 900 hip fractures occur every year in Singapore because of osteoporosis. Fragility fractures of the hip and spine can lead to significant pain and immobility, and affect daily activities, especially among able-bodied working adults, said Dr Thong.

Practice a healthy lifestyle to promote bone health. Do weight-bearing (impact) exercises like aerobics, brisk
walking, dancing, running or skipping for about 30 minutes, three to four times a week. Adopt a diet that is adequate in calcium (1,000mg a day) and vitamin D (400 international units a day). To do this, eat calcium-rich
foods like ikan billis (small fish), lowfat yogurt, cheese and cooked soya beans, and supplement your diet with
calcium tablets. Drink low-fat milk every day. Do not smoke cigarettes because they are toxic to bone cells
and have other harmful effects on the body. Avoid consuming excessive alcoholic beverages because they
are toxic to bone cells and have other harmful effects on the body. Information from Osteoporosis
Society (Singapore)

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