World Osteoporosis Day, UNAIR expert reveals potential osteoporosis at a young age

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Illustration by IDN Times

UNAIR NEWS – In commemorating the 2021 World Osteoporosis Day on October 20, an expert from the Faculty of Medicine (FK) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR), Prof. Dr. Dwikora Novembri Utomo, dr., Sp.OT(K) reminded the importance of maintaining bone health from a young age. Osteoporosis does not only occur with the elderly.

According to the expert and a member of the Indonesian Orthopaedic Association (PABOI), osteoporosis generally affects the elderly, but young people can also experience it if they have the following risk factors:

Non-modifiable risk factors:

1. Female—due to a decrease in the level of estrogen which is needed for bone formation in the elderly.

2. Family history of osteoporosis (genetic)

3. Certain races (Asian and Caucasian)

Modifiable risk factors:

1. Unhealthy lifestyle such as lack of exercise

2. Smoking

3. Excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and soda

4. Lack of calcium and vitamin D

Prof. Dr. Dwikora Novembri Utomo, dr., Sp.OT(K), Professor of Faculty of Medicine (FK) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR). (Photo: Personal Documentation)

Furthermore, Prof. Dwikora conveyed how a person can have osteoporosis. Under normal conditions, there is a balance between the process of bone formation and the process of bone breakdown. However, osteoporosis occurs when the process of bone breakdown is more dominant than the process of bone formation. As a result, bone density decreases.

“Osteoporosis can occur at any age although it is more common in old age when the process of bone formation is slower than the process of bone breakdown,” he said.

Thus, continued Prof. Dwikora, it is important for a person to start “saving bones” at a young age because a peak in bone formation happens at a young age. With nutrition and a healthy lifestyle at a young age, we will have better bones to prepare for conditions in old age.

“Osteoporosis that occurs in old age is a natural process caused by the aging process, making it difficult to restore bone conditions to a normal state. What can be done is to slow down the rate of decline in bone density,” he said.

Prevention is better than treatment, as conveyed by Prof. Dwikora when asked about the management of osteoporosis. According to him, the main treatment for someone with osteoporosis is to prevent osteoporosis from occurring with Fulfil-Do-Avoid method.

1. Fulfil the needs of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other minerals

2. Do physical activities regularly, morning sunbathing, and early detection if you have risk factors

3. Avoid bad habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, consuming excessive caffeine, and having strict diets

If osteoporosis has occurred, we can treat it by:

1. Recognizing and overcoming the causes of osteoporosis because it can be caused by many factors and diseases

2. Taking medications to reduce excessive bone breakdown such as bisphosphonates

3. Treating complications of osteoporosis that occur such as fractures.

Author: Adelya Salsabila Putri

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia 

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