Although osteoporosis (or osteopenia) and its related hip fractures have increased in Hong Kong over the last 50 years, the Hong Kong Osteoporosis Society reports a decrease over the last decade.
Bone mineral density seems to be on the increase in our population as people become more aware, and today we’ll prepare for World Osteoporosis Day by discussing what you can do to avoid osteoporosis. One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will be affected by osteoporosis. You can take steps now to avoid being one of them.
Who Is Most Affected By Osteoporosis?
The elderly are most affected by osteoporosis, but lifestyle choices earlier in life make a big difference as to whether you will suffer the effects. When bone demineralization occurs, bones become more fragile. Osteoporosis reduces mobility and increases the risk of life-shortening falls and fractures. You can even get DNA testing to help you discover if you have an impairment in absorbing vitamin D. If this is identified early, it can help you avoid later osteoporosis.
“With the ageing of the Hong Kong population, despite the plateauing of the age-specific incidence of hip fracture, it is expected that the absolute number of cases of hip fracture will continue to rise in the next 10–20 years.”
– International Osteoporosis Foundation
Hip Fractures and Community Awareness
There has recently been an increase in public awareness of osteoporosis and its role in falls and hip fractures in the elderly here in Hong Kong. Although there’s been some decline in hip fractures in the last decade, the Hong Kong incidence is still much higher than in mainland China.
However, the message seems to be reaching women more effectively than men, as many men locally still “display a continued lack of interest in health-related activities in general”. Community Tai Chi classes are helping to reduce fall prevention and fractures.
Stay Healthy Into Old Age With Stronger Bones
When you chose a healthier lifestyle, deciding to be less sedentary and eating nutritionally dense food, you reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Getting out in the sun increases your vitamin D levels, which helps protect you by helping your bones absorb calcium.
Taking a vitamin D supplement in the winter may be a good choice – ask your doctor. Usually, vitamin K2 is also taken if high doses of vitamin D are consumed, so that minerals can more effectively reach your bones.
Reducing alcohol consumption is also a healthy choice, as is (of course!) stopping smoking.
Choose Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium supplements may not be as effective as simply ensuring you take in calcium-rich foods on a regular basis. Here are ten of the best choices:
- Fortified oatmeal
- Cheddar cheese
- Salmon (canned with edible bones)
- Baked beans
- Cottage cheese
It is believed that high levels of salt and protein intake can increase your body’s excretion of calcium through the kidneys. Reducing salt intake and limiting protein intake to a moderate amount is a good choice, particularly for people with a low calcium intake.
Certain medications can help or hinder your chances of getting osteoporosis. Choose a doctor with an integrative approach to your long-term health.