Osteoporosis, why you should take it seriously
Alixandra Caole Vila (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2014 - 3:38pm

MANILA, Philippines - The bones move, support and protect various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals, essentially enabling the body to perform and maintain specific duties.

Bone strength is dependent on bone density and bone quality, such that bones are most likely to deteriorate as a person ages, making them more brittle and likely to break.

Weakening of the bones results to bone diseases and osteoporosis, affecting the daily routine of an individual, which later leads to injuries and fractures.

An estimated 8.1 million Filipinos have osteoporosis and many are unaware of the disease until fractures appear.

Risk Factors

There are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors of osteoporosis and bone fractures. The non-modifiable risk factors include age, sex, family history, personal history, bone structure and body weight, and menopause.

The modifiable risk factors of osteoporosis, on the other hand, include smoking which is the main cause of lifestyle-related deaths; excessive alcohol intake; sedentary living; inadequate calcium intake; caffeine; and medications like steroids, excessive thyroid hormone, anti-convulsants and antacids.

Smoking has been shown to reduce blood supply to the bones, slow the production of bone-forming cells, and impair the absorption of calcium, while excessive alcoholic beverage consumption has been shown to increase bone loss.

Prevention

The good thing is that osteoporosis, as well as other bone-related diseases, are preventable. Prevention starts with taking adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, initiating a lifestyle change by quitting smoking and limiting alcoholic beverage intake, committing to regular load-bearing activities ideally four days a week or more, and taking care not to trip or fall to avoid injuries or fractures. 

According to the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes (RENI) developed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), female and male adults need 750 milligrams of calcium and 5 micrograms of vitamin D everyday.

Milk and milk products like cheese and yogurt, green leafy vegetables, anchovies, sardines and tofu are some of the readily-available good sources of calcium in the Filipino diet, while sun exposure from sunrise is the most cost-effective and convenient way of obtaining adequate amounts of vitamin D in the body. For those who have lactose intolerance or are just plain non-milk drinkers, there are a numerous alternatives including calcium-fortified juices and drinks.

BODY BONE BONES CALCIUM FACTORS FOOD AND NUTRITION RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FRACTURES MODIFIABLE OSTEOPOROSIS RECOMMENDED ENERGY AND NUTRIENT INTAKES RISK FACTORS
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