One in four postmenopausal Taiwanese women has osteoporosis and about 960,000 women aged above 50 are at high risk for the condition, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said.
A health survey conducted by the administration in 2009 found that the number of people who said they have been diagnosed with osteoporosis increases with age, and there is an evident rise in the number of women affected by the disease after menopause.
The survey showed that while 10.2 percent of the male population aged 50 and over had osteoporosis, 2.5 times more females in that age group were affected by the bone problem.
Based on population data provided by the Ministry of the Interior, the administration estimated that about 363,000 men and 956,000 women are currently at risk for the disease.
A human’s bone quality is at its best between the age of 20 and 30, and as a person ages, the density and quality of their bone gradually reduces, the administration said, adding that the menopause is a risk factor.
As bone quality decreases, bones become porous and fragile.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent disease because there are usually no noticeable symptoms indicating that the disease is developing, with only some aged individuals exhibiting changes such as loss of height or a curved upper back, or a dowager’s Hump, the administration said.
The administration added that exercise is the best way to avoid or delay the onset of osteoporosis, adding that an earlier survey had shown that nearly 40 percent of women aged above 60 with the disease did not do regular physical activities.
HPA Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said that calcium intake, exposure to the sunlight and regular weight-lifting activities are ways to improve bone quality at a young age and can help reduce the risk of bone fractures later in life.