Detecting Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is also known as ‘the silent crippler’ because it can occur without symptoms. This is where the danger lies, as most people would not know about their osteoporotic condition until a major fracture occurs, often with devastating effects.

The Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool for Asiana (PSATA) is a 1-minute guide, formulated to help assess an Asian woman’s risk of osteoporosis – by simply comparing weight measurement (in kilograms) to age for an indication of the individual’s risk profile.

If your risk is medium or high, it is very important that you see Dr. Kevin Yip for help as soon as possible.

Those with medium or high risks, or those who may have symptoms of osteoporosis, are advised to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Our doctor may recommend a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) test to help determine your bone mineral density (BMD), a reading that is indicative of your bone health.

Unlike bone scans that require an injection of a radioactive material, the DEXA test requires no special preparation, medication, or injection. Its test result, known as T-scores, compare your bone density with that of a normal young adult of your gender.

An individual with bone mass of 2.5 standard deviations or more below the normal density (which also means 25-30% or more below) is diagnosed as osteoporotic.

Osteoprosis Around Us

  • Osteoporosis is not just an ‘old women’s’ disease. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, younger females too need to take note, as bone loss in women can begin as early as age 25, and a woman’s lifetime risk for osteoporotic fracture is 30-40%. The prevalence of osteoporosis in men is also higher than previously thought – affecting approximately one in five men.
  • And, the incidence of osteoporosis is increasing in Singapore’s ageing population – since the 1960s, hip fractures have risen 1.5-fold in men aged over 50 years and 5-fold in women older than 50.
  • In the United States, Europe and Japan, about 1 in every 3 post-menopausal women are osteoporotic – in 50 years time, more than half of all hip fractures in the world are projected to occur in Asia.

Consequences of Osteoporosis

Sometimes, nothing happens, as osteoporosis is asymoptomatic. However, the lower your BMD, the higher your risks of bone fracture. Most alarmingly, osteoporosis can cause sudden fractures during everyday activities that would not have otherwise affected normal bone.

The devastating and painful fractures usually occur at the spine, wrist, hip, pelvis or upper arm. They can lead to:

  • chronic pain
  • reduced height
  • considerable deformity including hunching of the back
  • loss of mobility
  • a need for surgery, hospitalisation and after-care
  • reduced physical independence and quality of life
  • death in severe cases of hip fractures

Osteoporosis is a treatable condition. It is preventable too.

With effective medication, osteoporosis can be treated and its risks prevented. But calcium alone is not enough to achieve this. Understanding, managing and preventing your risks of osteoporosis can improve your risk profile, enhance your quality of life, and reduce your burden of care.

Discuss early with our doctor the appropriate medicine, diet and vitamin intake, exercise and lifestyle modification that an effectively help to reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Related Articles:
Understanding Osteoporosis
Preventing Osteoporosis
Treating Osteoporosis
Bone Mineral Density Test (DEXA Scan)

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