Osteoporosis Higher Among Asian American Women

Asian American women are at higher risk for osteoporosis, national statistics show. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 20 percent of Asian American women older than age 50 are estimated to have the bone disease.

Bob Nishime, a doctor in San Jose’s Japantown, said that Asian American women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis.

“It’s because Asian females have a thin frame. So they need to get as much calcium as possible in their diet before the age of 35,” he said.

Nishime recommended taking 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day and 400 I.U. of vitamin D to strengthen bones.

“You need it to maintain bone strength. If you don’t take supplements, you will get weaker,” he said.

He added that women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis should take 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day, in addition to getting regular exercise.

“Running will improve and maintain bone strength,” he said, adding that people with osteoporosis do not show any symptoms.

“People do not know they have it until they get screened. There are a number of risk factors. If you have a fracture, you probably have it.”

He said that osteoporosis primarily begins to occur in women in the 60-to-65 age group.

“That’s when we start to see an increase in osteoporosis,” he said.

Neurosurgeon Marshal Rosario, MD, agreed that most cases of osteoporosis occur in post-menopausal women and that osteoporotic bones get stronger with exercise. He said older women and men with osteoporosis should walk, swim, and do yoga and tai chi. He added that osteoporosis is less common in men.

“By that age, everybody has osteoporosis,” said Dr. Chiu Yuan, adding that a bone density test can determine if one has osteoporosis.

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