• Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle leading to higher risks of fractures than in normal bone. It occurs due to loss of bone minerals like calcium and body is not able to replace them adequately.
  • Common sites at which the bone is affected include the spine, hips, forearms, writs.
  • Osteoporosis has no signs or symptoms and hence is a “silent disease” until a fracture occurs due to minimal trauma.
  • Osteoporosis is very common and the risk of new fracture rises exponentially with each new fracture. – “the cascade effect”.
  • Who is at risk – women above 50 years and men above 60 years of age.
  • Life time fracture risk of people at 50 years age.
Men Women
Wrist fracture 1 in 40 (2.5%)
Vertebral fracture 1 in 20 (5%) 1 in 6 (16%)
Hip fracture 1 in 17 (6%) 1 in 6 (16%)

  • Modifiable risk factors associated with osteoporosis include inactive life style, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, low body weight, vitamin D deficiency, frequent falls and low calcium intake.
  • Non-modifiable risk factors associated with osteoporosis include female gender, small body build, delayed puberty or early menopause, previous osteoporotic fracture, family history of osteoporosis, age over 50 years, chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, malabsoprtion states among others.
  • Osteoporosis is diagnosed by combing information from a person’s medical history with a physical examination and certain tests like x-rays and bone density.
  • A loss of height by over 3 cms signals to a previous vertebral fracture.
  • You can minimize your risk of developing osteoporosis and a first fracture by trying to change the modifiable risk factors and by looking after their bone health.
  • We need 1000mg of elemental calcium every day; women aged over 50 and men aged over 70 require at least 1300 mg of calcium every day. Three serves of dairy products will give you 1000 mg of calcium a day.
  • Vitamin D comes from sun exposure. There si very little vitamin D in our diet unless fortified in flour or oil. Our daily requirement is 400-800 IU (10 – 20 mcg) of vitamin D per day.
  • People at risk of vitamin D deficiency include elderly, people who are housebound, dark skinned individuals, those who cover their skin for cultural or religious reasons and babies of vitamin D deficient mothers.
  • To get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D, a person needs to expose their hands, face and arms to sunlight for about 6-8 minutes, 4-6 times a week, before 10 AM or after 4 PM in summer, for moderately fair people.
  • Regular physical exercise increase bone strength by increasing bone mass or slowing age-related bone loss. Thirty minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days is recommended for your general health. Improved muscle strength and balance, good eyesight and proper footwear can minimize the risk of fractures by reducing your risks of falls.
  • There are medications which your doctor will prescribe for osteoporosis depending on your individual needs and test results along with calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Calcium Content of Some Common Foods :-

Food Standard serve Calcium (mg)
Apple 1 medium 7
Bread 30 gm (1 slice) 15
Boiled egg 1 21
Oranges 1 medium 35
Spinach 100gm 50
Almonds 50gms 110
Custard 100gm 100
Ice cream 100gm 133
Cheese 40gm 300
Yogurt – low fat 200gm 316
Yogurt – plain 200gm 390
Milk – regular 250 ml 285
Milk – reduced fat 250 ml 352
Milk – skim 250 ml 320
Milk – calcium fortified 250 ml 353

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