Osteoporosis, a disease that results in bone deterioration over time, is commonly called the “silent killer” because its early stages are not easy to detect. “Our bones remain strong and healthy until mid-life, yet we take bone health for granted,” says Vitallife wellness specialist, Dr. Nacha Harinrak. “Osteoporosis is often diagnosed only when a person suffers a fracture, joint or disc problem.”
Fractures most commonly occur in the spine, hip, and wrist. A broken hip is the most serious, as it can lead to repeated fractures, permanent disability or even death. Other ailments include aches and pains that restrict movement, skeletal deformities (such as a humpback), and reduced breathing capacity.
While bone loss is a natural part of aging, Dr Nacha said not everyone will lose enough bone density to develop osteoporosis. To reduce the risk, Dr Nacha encourages people to maintain bone health regardless of age or gender. She warns that osteoporosis is much more common among women because their bones are thinner, and bone density loss accelerates after menopause when estrogen levels fall. “Men over the age of 50 with risk factors should be careful as well”, advises Dr. Nacha.
In fact, taking good care of your bones is something everyone should do. Smoking, excessive drinking, poor diets and inactive lifestyles put you at risk for osteoporosis. Like other parts of the body, bone growth is stimulated by exercise, especially cardio and weight lifting activities. Asians, in general are more predisposed to osteoporosis as many have thinner, smaller bodies and diets low in calcium.
Recent research released by the International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that by 2050 more than 50 percent of all osteoporotic fractures will occur in Asia. Given the heightened risk, Dr Nacha encourages women and men over the age of 45 to take regular bone density tests (a DXA test) in the hip and spine. To enhance bone health, she recommends eating more calcium rich foods such as cheese, yoghurt, leafy greens, sardines, and drinking a glass of vitamin D fortified milk every day.
Fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring also contain high levels of vitamin D – vitamin D is important as it helps us absorb calcium. Vitamin K is another good option for enhancing bone strength. Foods rich in vitamin K include vegetables such as spinach, Brussel sprouts, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli.
Strength building and weight bearing exercises, like weight lifting, running, tennis, and walking are great options to build bone and maintain it. Also, getting out in the sun also to get adequate exposure to vitamin D.
Finally,there are various treatments available for people diagnosed with osteoporosis. Dr. Nacha says that treatment options include hormone replacement therapy, although she counsels this is not for everyone as there can be side-effects. In terms of medications, a bisphosphonate is often prescribed to reduce bone loss and the risk of fracture. Her final piece of advice was for everyone to get more active. “Treating osteoporosis is optimized when patients increase their physical activity. So get out there and walk, run, jog, lift some weights, or play sport regularly.”
The VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center located on the campus of Bumrungrad International Hospital is a global leader in the provision of scientifically-based integrated medicine. Its programs are managed and run by US Board Certified doctors specializing in the center’s Future Health concept, covering predictive, preventive, regenerative, and revitalizing health care.
It is the first medical wellness center in Asia to be accredited by the World Council on Clinical Accreditation (awarded in November 2007). It is also the first compounding pharmacy in Southeast Asia.
Vitallife is the first wellness center in the world to be accredited to DNV.GL’s International Accreditation Standard for Outpatient Specialist Centers. DNV.GL is a globally respected quality accreditation organization renowned for integrity in certification, standards development and risk management in many sectors including healthcare. DNV.GL International Healthcare Accreditation is based on standards approved by the U.S. Government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Vitallife is a 100% owned subsidiary of the publicly traded Bumrungrad International Hospital since 2001.
For more information please contact:
VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center
68 Bumrungrad International Tower Building 10th Floor,
Soi Sukhumvit 1, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana,
Tel : +66 2066 8899
Monday to Friday : 08.00 – 19.00 hrs.
Saturday to Sunday: 08.00 – 16.00 hrs.
Nearest BTS: Phloen Chit