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Stay Away from Osteoporosis!

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Many may have experienced sports injuries or a sudden sprain of ankles. But have you considered experiencing similar injuries without external force? This “silent disease” may be the problem here. Osteoporosis is linked with porous bone or brittle bone condition when one has a higher rate of bone deterioration than bone formation [7]. Resulting is a fragile bone structure that is easily broken or fractured even with activities that did not include much external force [5]. Example, bending over, lifting a printer or coughing [1]. 

The most common cases seen of fracture areas are hip, spine and wrist leading to pain and deformity [1, 5]. In Malaysia, it is expected to increase by 3.55-fold of hip fracture cases from 2018-2050 [2]. If any serious fractures occur, one’s quality of life and independence are highly affected thus reduces one’s survival [5]. In the long term, an individual’s self-confidence decreases due to changes in body image and physical appearance, increases depression episodes and isolation [5]. 

Question arises, “How do I know I am at risk?”.

In general, women tend to have higher rates of osteoporosis, primarily for women aged 50 and above [7]. Reasoned by menopause that leads to low levels of estrogen which accelerates the progression of bone degradation compared to men [1, 2, 6]. Individuals with a family history of osteoporosis or any serious bone fractures may be inherited thus having higher possibilities of developing osteoporosis as well [1, 5]. 

For external risk factors which can be controlled to minimize one’s risks of osteoporosis in our daily life practice. In other words, prevention steps can be taken according to different factors.

  1. Low vitamin D and calcium diet
  • Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium effectively; while calcium is the mineral that makes up the bone tissues [5, 7]. Vitamin D can be formed naturally in our body with roughly 15 minutes of sunlight exposure every day [5]. Tips: Avoid afternoon’s hot Sun (12 pm – 4 pm) and recommend applying appropriate amounts of sunscreen when doing so. Or by eating food sources with vitamin D and calcium including fortified food like milk, yoghurt and saltwater fish according to the Malaysian Food Pyramid’s requirement [4, 5, 8]. Consumption of vitamin D supplements will be based on advice given by doctors or dietitians according to one’s health condition that varies differently.
  1. Diet containing high consumption of caffeinated foods and beverages 
  • This eating habit should be reduced as it leads to excess loss of calcium in the body excreted through urine [3, 5]. It is recommended to consume less than 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, or cola) to limit calcium loss [5] 
  1. Sedentary lifestyles 
  • All individuals are encouraged to exercise regularly on a daily basis as it stimulates remodeling of bone. Any exercises that work against gravity are helpful, alternatively changes between strength exercises, weight-bearing activities or balance training. For example, practicing weight-bearing activities around 3-4 times per week to maintain bone mass (hiking, climbing staircases, dancing or gardening) [5, 7]. While other remaining days of the week can include balance training (increase walking speed) especially for elderly to lower the risks of falls that may endanger his/ her life [5, 7]. Suggest to include more people during practice to avoid any possibilities of fall accidents for the elderly.
  1. Cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol intake 
  • Absorption of nutrients and sex hormone regulations causes negative effect to the bone and skeletal structure [5]. As both contain chemical substances that can disrupt the harmony of the body by altering the hormone regulations. Besides, smoking may lead to additional toxic effects to the bone and decrease bone density [5].

References: 

  1. Azaiddin, A., 2012. Osteoporosis. [Online] Available at: http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/osteoporosis-2/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2020]
  2. Chan, C., Y., Shaanthana, S., Norazlina, M., Soelaiman, I., Norliza, M., Ahmad, F., Ng, P., Y., Nor, A., J., Noorazah A., A., and Chin K., Y., 2020. Determinants of Bone Health Status in a Multi-Ethnic Population in Klang Valley, Malaysia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(2), pp. 384.
  3. Heaney, R., P., 2002. Effect of caffeine on bone and calcium economy. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40, pp. 1263-1270.
  4. Jamilah, A., Surainee, W., Azlinda, H., and Munawara, P., 2012. Malaysian Food Pyramid. [Online] Available at: http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/malaysian-food-pyramid-2/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2020] 
  5. Malaysian Osteoporosis Society, 2020. What is Osteoporosis? [Online] Available at: http://www.osteoporosis.my/aboutOsteo/about_whatOsteo.asp [Accessed 19 Oct 2020]
  6. Pantai Hospital, 2020. Osteoporosis [Online] Available at: https://www.pantai.com.my/ms-my/health-a-z/osteoporosis [Accessed 19 Oct 2020]
  7. Samia, A., Hejar, A., R., Suriani, I., and Emilia, Z., A., 2017. An Overview of Osteoporosis and Health Promotional Strategies for Community Based Osteoporosis Prevention in Malaysia, International Journal of Public Health and Clinical Services, 4(1), pp.28-40.
  8. U.S. Department of Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2015. Introduction. Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2015-2020, 8, pp. 1-11. 

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