It is estimated that 400,000 women suffer from osteoporosis. This number is
expected to rise to more than three million by the year 2050. In fact, a
recent World Health Report estimates that one in every three women would
eventually develop this brittle-bone disease.
Of the millions of women in the work force, women who have sedentary jobs
and sedentary life-styles are more at risk. Women who have inactive jobs
should include exercise to maintain their bones.
One of the biggest causes of osteoporosis is a lack of calcium in one's
diet. Experts recommend an intake of 1200 to 1500 milligrams of calcium a
day. Studies show that the mean daily consumption of most Malaysians is
about 450 milligrams. Getting sufficient calcium in one's diet not only
helps to build healthy bones but also helps to reduce the rate of loss to
bone mass. The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk,
yogurt, cheese and sardines. A calcium-rich diet and calcium supplements can
provide the body with the amount of calcium it needs.
Women who have had their ovaries removed lack estrogen, a hormone produced
by the ovaries that slows the wasting away of bones. Estrogen replacement
therapy is prescribed in such cases. Estrogen has been found to reduce the
risk of bone fracture.
Studies show that genetic inheritance can also make one susceptible to
osteoporosis. Women with small or thin frames are more likely to develop the
disease compared with women who have large body frames and large bone
structure. Certain prescription medication tend to increase the risk of
contracting the disease. Certain drugs especially cortisone-type drugs can
affect the body's bone-producing capacity leading the bones to become
fragile and brittle. Patients who depend on such drugs should seek expert
medical advice. The medical expert may then prescribe calcium supplements
together with other drugs. Smoking and alcohol enhance the risk of
contracting the disease.
The disease is most common in Asian and Caucasian women who are petite,
small-boned or thin. The sad fact is that many Asians still do not know much
about the disease. In fact, there are many who have not heard about the
disease at all. Although prevention is better than cure, early diagnosis and
effective treatment can save the patient from pain. There are various steps
that should be taken. Foremost among these is getting sufficient calcium in
one's diet. Inclusion of a diet that is rich in vitamin D is recommended as
vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Exercises which make use of
gravity such as brisk walking, aerobics and dancing as well as
weight-bearing exercises in which one bears the weight on the bones will
help to ward off the disease. Steps should also be taken to increase
awareness of the disease among the public. This will help them understand
the lifelong need to care for their bones.
Begin your summary as follows: Osteoporosis, a disease mainly
affecting older women, is caused by ...