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When people fall down and break their bones, it’s not necessarily an accident. Conversely, an underlying fragility fracture could be the culprit!

Fragility fractures refer to fractures caused by innocuous falls from a standing height or less. The main cause of fragility fractures is asymptomatic osteoporosis. One common type of fragility fracture is vertebral fracture.

More specifically, vertebral fractures are not brought on by impact from physical trauma. Some normal activities such as sneezing or bending over to pick up light objects may result in a collapsed vertebra. In addition, it affects patients’ quality of life tremendously. If a vertebral fracture happens to compress a spinal nerve, the patient may need to undergo surgery to fix the issue.

Proper treatment brings improvement

Generally, if a person’s bones are healthy and strong, he will not break a bone even if he falls from a tall height, unless osteoporosis has surfaced. Osteoporosis weakens bones, rendering patients vulnerable to fragility fractures. These fractures not only affect one’s ability to walk, but also put one’s life in danger.

In addition, fragility fractures which are caused by osteoporosis may reduce the quality of life; some osteoporosis patients even suffer from anxiety or depression due to fear of falling or having a bone fracture.

To reduce the risk of fragility fractures, osteoporosis should be diagnosed as early as possible.

COVID-19 impacts osteoporosis care!

The president of Fragility Fracture Network of Malaysia cum orthopaedic surgeon, Dato’ Dr Lee Joon Kiong said: “Reduced movement and activity increases the risk of fractures, and the lack of vitamin D intake from being exposed to the sun will also affect bone health. Aside from that, due to reduced social interaction, the elderlies face cognitive impairment, thereby reducing adherence to treatment or dietary care, which increases fracture risk too.”

In the current post-pandemic times, there are many delayed referrals and irregular follow-up visits, leading to a rise in bone fractures as well.
Besides, having a history of bone fracture increases one’s risk of recurrent fracture by as much as 86%.

Malaysia is expected to experience a 3.5-fold increase in the number of hip fractures between 2018 and 2050 – the highest increase in Asia. All in all, Malaysians should pay more attention to the diagnosis, treatment and management of bone health problems in the post-pandemic era.

All in all, Malaysians should pay more attention to the diagnosis, treatment and management of bone health problems in the post-pandemic era.

Understanding osteoporosis

According to a survey conducted by the Bone Health Alliance Malaysia (BHAM), 77% of respondents mistakenly believe that weak bones and height loss are part of a natural aging process; 96% of respondents are not aware of the factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis; 57% underestimate the impact of osteoporosis on women.

Osteoporosis is characterised by decreased bone density & strength, i.e., fragile, weak bones. It is also being called a “silent disease” that has become a major health concern among the elderlies and postmenopausal women. Age, family history, being in the postmenopausal stage, being underweight, plus certain diet and daily habits can all increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Currently, treatment options for osteoporosis fall into two broad categories: non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment.

Do these things right to prevent fragility fractures!

To prevent fragility fractures, we should practise a healthy and balanced diet, exercise frequently, avoid slips, trips, and falls, and go for regular bone density tests and osteoporosis or bone-related care and treatment.

We should also garner the knowledge about osteoporosis and fragility fractures through the right channels, such as Bone Health Alliance Malaysia (BHAM).

Futured doctor:

Dato’ Dr Lee Joon Kiong

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

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