Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Second Look at Osteoporosis

Last January, I wrote a post about why the issue of osteoporosis is close to my heart. I'm osteopenic -- and all these years I have been trying to keep my body condition from deteriorating to the point where I would be at high risk of osteoporosis.

The background on why I think I became osteopenic and what I'm doing about it can be read HERE.

We really don't think of it. I know I fail at that many times too. But we tend to overlook the health of our bones. We take in too much caffeine, sleep late, eat unhealthy and take in too little calcium. Many of us lead sedentary lives and hardly ever go out in the sun. I have to keep reminding myself that if I want to stay active well into my senior years, I just cannot afford to get a fracture - anywhere. A bad fall, a twisted limb, or any other sudden movement in the wrong way could really injure me if my bones are weak. And I really cannot imagine how my present active life can suddenly be curtailed if I can no longer be mobile due to fracture or worse, broken bones.

At a recent intimate gathering with the people behind Anlene, I learned more about osteoporosis and how it is affecting people worldwide as well as close to home - how many Filipinos are going about their daily lives without realizing they're already at risk of becoming osteoporotic. From the pics below, what's really important when it comes to bones is DENSITY. The denser the bones, the stronger these are. When bones have lots of gaping spaces, that is when fractures are more likely.

Once bones lose density, nothing can gain this back. At the very least, you can just arrest and delay its further deterioration. That is why once you know where you stand in the spectrum of osteoporotic risk, intervention is needed for those at risk while those still at low risk can also take supplements to ensure they stay in that category.

Left photos show healthy bones. Right ones show osteoporotic bones.
In this fight against osteoporosis, I am happy with how Anlene has been so active in coming up with products that help prevent osteoporosis or delay the deterioration of those who are osteopenic like me.

But more than just making these products, Anlene has taken the additional step of scanning 1 million Filipinos. Based on data gathered from people in all walks of life and from Luzon to Mindanao, they are reporting that 1 out of 2 Filipinos are at risk of osteoporosis. That is a whopping 50% of a population running into 100 million!

The people behind Anlene have allotted P100 million in the last 5 years to fund the campaign against osteoporosis. In 2011, it is once again pledging another P50 million for its Bone Health Check program. They began this program in 1999 till 2001 with just one machine - the GE Achilles Ultrasonometer - a portable bone scanning machine that harnesses the power of high frequency sound waves. They purchased another machine for use between 2002-04 but in 2005, they upped that to 11 machines and this year there are 36 bone scanning machines going all over the country.

They have been doing these in malls, offices and places where they can scan a good number of people of all ages. When you see the Anlene people in a Bone Health Check stall, take time to have yourself scanned. It only takes 3 minutes, is absolutely painless, and just requires a scan of the bone near the heel like this lady in the picture. Have your older family members scanned as well. If you are diagnosed to be low risk, celebrate! But if you are diagnosed as medium- to high-risk, at least you can take action immediately to change your lifestyle, diet and supplements like Anlene.

What I am excited about with the findings presented by the Anlene people is that a group of women in a study who were made to drink Anlene had reduced bone loss after 4 weeks.

Graph on left shows improvement in the women made to take Anlene
compared to those in the right who were non-Anlene drinkers.
Eating a balanced diet rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D; regular exercise especially weight-bearing ones; and a healthy lifestyle can all contribute to keeping bones healthy well into your senior years.

If you are a smoker, heavy caffeine drinker, leads a sedentary lifestyle, and not eating calcium-rich foods, you could be at risk. Make sure you get your bone health diagnosed as early as possible.

As for me, it's going to be more of yoga (weight-bearing), earlier sleeping habits (my doctor told me already to do this) and a more conscious effort to eat calcium-rich foods. Anyway, I love dairy products. And of course, I've still got Anlene to help me.

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