Osteoporosis is a bone condition characterised by low bone mass or decreased bone strength. It results when there's an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption (the process of losing substance). New bone formation is unable to catch up with bone loss. As more bone is lost, it eventually weakens, and becomes more prone to fractures especially in the hip, spine and wrist.
There might not be any obvious symptoms in the early stages of this "silent epidemic", but towards the later stages, you might feel pain in the bones or muscles, especially in areas around the lower back. Apart from pain. people with osteoporosis may suffer from spinal compression fractures resulting in loss of height with a stooped back (called dowager's hump).
While any bone in your body can be affected by this bone-thinning disease, fractures in the hip and spine have raised special concerns as they almost always result in serious consequences such as hospitalisation or even death. Over the last 30 years in Singapore, cases of hip fractures have increased 5 times in women aged 50 and above, and 1.5 times in men of the same age group. Studies have shown that 1 in every 5 people with osteoporotic hip fracture died within a year. Therefore, it is important to know more about your bones to protect your bone health.