ABCs of Osteoporosis and Healthy Ageing

Lecturer: Dr Vivien Lim, Visiting Consultant, Department of Medicine

Myth: Osteoporosis is painful.

Fact: Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes bones to become weak, brittle and easily prone to fractures. The condition is not painful, except when you fall and break your bones, i.e. sustain a fracture. Another kind of ‘pain’ is the financial cost of surgery and hospitalisation due to hip fracture!

Myth: Osteoporosis is a woman’s disease. Men are not affected.

Fact: Although the prevalence of the condition worldwide is skewed towards women aged 70 and above, men are not insusceptible to the condition. One in three women will suffer an osteoporotic fracture compared to one in five men. Therefore, men should not ignore or disregard the disease. The best way to prevent the onset of the disease is to ensure adequate calcium and Vitamin D intake. A daily calcium intake of 1000mg per day should be sufficient.

Oral Health in Your Elderly Years

Maintaining your oral health in your elderly years is vital in keeping your teeth healthy.

Lecturer: Dr Tan Kian Meng, Senior Registrar, Department of Dental Surgery

Myth: Snacking between meals is not a factor in the formation of tooth diseases such as caries.

Fact: Snacking between meals (> 3 times daily) is one of the many factors that can lead to caries (an infection due to plaque build-up).

Frequent snacking causes the mouth to become more acidic, which over time, leads to mineral loss in the tooth resulting in tooth decay.

Myth: Toothpaste with fluoride is ineffective in preventing caries.

Fact: Fluoride can potentially reduce the risk of caries by 20 to 35 percent. Do not underplay the importance of brushing your teeth at least two to three times daily!

Senior Falls

Ensure that all floors are clean and dry to reduce the risk of senior falls.

Lecturer: Dr Mallya Jagadish Ullal, Senior Consultant, Department of Geriatric Medicine

Myth: Senior falls are inevitable as one grows older.

Fact: Although age is correlated with increased falls risk, there are multiple causes of falls other than age. Poor vision, taking multiple medications, which may cause giddiness or confusion, foot problems or inappropriate footwear, diseases such as arthritis and strokes, as well as poor gait may lead to falls. For adults above 60 years old who have a history of falls, they are advised to go for a falls screening test.

Related: Caregiver Tips To Prevent Falls In The Elderly

Depression in The Elderly

Get professional help if your loved one is suffering from depression.

Lecturer: Ms Mabel Yum, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychological Medicine

Myth: It is not easy to recognise signs of depression in older adults and the elderly.

Fact: Some depressed older adults and the elderly may not express they are feeling very sad or moody. Instead, look for clues of depression such as complaints of unexplained or increased aches and pains, memory problems, lack of motivation and energy, slowed movement and irritability in speech, loss of interest in socialising and neglecting personal care such as skipping meals neglecting personal hygiene.

Myth: Depression is an inevitable part of ageing and cannot be prevented.

Fact: Depression is not an inevitable part of ageing. There are methods to prevent, manage and treat depression. These include seeking professional help from a psychiatrist who may prescribe anti-depressant medication, psychological treatment, counselling and participating in support groups. The best treatment for depression is still the self. Think helpful thoughts and be engaged socially.

Related: Depression

Healthy Ageing and Incontinence

Incontinence is more common than you think

Lecturer: Dr Lawrence Tan, Senior Consultant, Department of Geriatric Medicine

Myth: Urinary incontinence is part of ageing. There is nothing we can do about it.

Fact: Incontinence is not caused by ageing but a symptom of some other medical condition. It can happen to practically anyone. Incontinence can be treated and controlled through medication, doing pelvic exercises and practising good bladder habits. Good bladder habits include drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily (unless advised otherwise by your doctor), limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, emptying your bladder at regular intervals and only when it is full, and having a healthy diet high in fibre to prevent constipation which may lead to poor bladder control.

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