In Hong Kong, nearly 40% of Osteoporosis patients are the elderly aged 65 or above, in 2018, there are even about 10,000 cases of hip fracture. The Osteoporosis focus group had a survey of “Female cognition and misunderstanding of Osteoporosis ” in March and found out that Hong Kong people have misunderstanding regarding the symptoms and treatment of Osteoporosis as nearly 30% of respondents think that only those who are humpbacked have Osteoporosis.
The survey has interviewed a total of 606 women aged 35 and above, among them 25% thought that only those who have pain in the bones have Osteoporosis. 46% of women don’t know or wrongly think that mistakenly believe that some commonly used medicines for long-term illness will increase the risk of disease. Nearly 80% even refer to taking calcium tablets or vitamin D supplements as the correct treatment. The survey revealed that Hong Kong people have misunderstandings about the symptoms and treatment methods of osteoporosis. The lack of knowledge may lead to delayed or improper treatment, causing more serious problems.
Too late for treatment when symptoms occur
In response to the above misunderstanding, Dr. Huang Shixiong, the President of the Osteoporosis Society of Hong Kong, explained: “Most patients with osteoporosis have no symptoms. When you have a hump, it is likely that the spine has collapsed which lead to lumbar spinal fractures, and these compression fractures can cause a great deal of back pain. If you go to see the doctors when hump appears, your bone density is already low and second spinal fractures can occur, leading to inconvenience.” As you get older, the bone loss gets faster which leads to the reduction of bone density and osteoporotic fractures (fragile fractures) are easy to occur. “It is expected that the number of hip fractures will increase significantly to 14,492 in 10 years. After age 50, one in three women and one in five men will have a fragile fracture.”
Many people thought that taking calcium and vitamin D can help with osteoporosis, Cui Junming, president of The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong points out that this is not correct. “Before the age of 20, calcium intake from food can indeed help build bones, and the earlier the better, however, it is of little use after 20.” He quoted from the foreign study discoveries and said that the bone loss in menopausal women was not related to calcium intake, more calcium cannot avoid the loss of bones; on the other hand, vitamin D supplementation cannot help to reduce the risk of fractures and falls of the elderly.
In view of this, the “Osteoporosis Primary Care Alliance” launched a primary care pilot scheme and held several health lectures. Moreover, the University of Hong Kong has designed 3 simple questions for fast screening, clients only need to answer their “age”, “weight” and ” If there was a non-accidental fracture before”, they get to know the risk of osteoporosis and if needed, the case will be followed up.