Some alarming facts about osteoporosis: it does not have any symptoms, there is no cure and it does not exclusively affect women. Adult Filipino men, in particular, are susceptible to the disease by age 50.
These conclusions were recently presented by Anlene milk brand manager Erik Riola in the “Partners for Life” discussion at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. The data came from bone scans conducted on over 250,000 Filipino men from August 2011 to July this year.
Based on the results, the Anlene team found out that 43 percent of men ages 26-65 are “at risk” for osteoporosis. That means one out of five Filipino men over the age of 50 will likely suffer from a bone fracture due to poor bone health. These fractures usually occur on the wrist, spine and hip.
Anlene has been conducting free bone scans for the past years in malls, groceries and wet markets. This quick procedure is done by placing a foot in a machine with small balloons that inflate and lightly squeezes the heel. It is over in minutes, and results can be immediately seen.
One is then classified as high, medium or low risk. Anlene assistant brand manager Roberta Nicole Sadiua clarified that the bone scan does not diagnose osteoporosis, but determines if you are likely to have it.
Dr. Alex Pineda, Osteoporosis Society of the Philippines Foundation Inc. secretary general, quoted the World Health Organization definition of osteoporosis as a “skeletal disease defined by loss of bone mass and microdeterioration of bone tissue.”
He emphasized that, while osteoporosis is a “silent disease” with no known cure, it could be prevented—and it’s best to take precaution early.
“Osteoporosis is determined by factors such as genetic predisposition, which means it’s hereditary, as well as age and sex,” Dr. Pineda said. “Women produce estrogen which serves as a protecting factor against bone loss, so males are more predisposed to suffer from osteoporosis.”
Smoke and drink
Dr. Pineda also said men who smoke and drink lose bone mass faster and should take extra calcium. He reminded that “prevention is a lot cheaper than cure, since surgery costs a lot.”
Milk is a major source of calcium, a key mineral that keeps bones healthy, but Filipino men are not natural milk drinkers. Making men—and the entire family—drink milk usually depends on the woman of the house.
Couples Vince and Patricia Hizon and RJ and Vanessa Ledesma joined in the discussion to encourage families to lead an active lifestyle.
Patricia said it’s her husband Vince, a basketball player, who initiates outdoor family activities.
“Vince is a Biology graduate and has been an athlete since he was young,” she said. “We do together what people call ‘hyperactive things’—running, swimming, biking, going to the gym, walking the dogs, hiking.”
RJ and Vanessa, being full-time multitaskers, define their lifestyle as “99-percent on-the-go.” RJ said he keeps “eight different jobs” (real estate developer, writer, host, among others) while Vanessa has always been juggling several tasks since she was single.
The vegetarian couple practices yoga and manages weekend markets that specialize in organic food.
“Being healthy is a wise investment,” said Vanessa, who looked slim just months after giving birth to their second child. “How healthy the family is usually depends on the mother.”
Patricia said being healthy has always been a part of her marital commitment. “Being a wife is keeping myself healthy, not necessarily sexy, so that I can spend more time with my family.”
The two moms make sure their husbands and kids regularly drink milk to load up on calcium. As Dr. Pineda said, most families are more concerned about heart diseases, stroke and hypertension, but bone health should also be given attention.
Two glasses of milk daily are recommended for men and women, added Anlene marketing director Harvey Ong. Anlene comes in powder variant in chocolate and vanilla flavors, and in ready-to-drink tetra packs. It has vitamin D that promotes calcium absorption, and has been proven to reduce bone loss with continued consumption.
For kids, a fun way to drink milk is incorporating it into smoothies and shakes, added Sadiua. Anlene is also safe to drink while taking calcium supplements.