Osteoporosis is the bone condition characterised by low bone mass, which is associated with with reduced bone strength and an increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis occurs most commonly in postmenopausal women. Low bone mass may be related to either inadequate peak bone mass acquisition and/or ongoing bone loss. 

Risk factors for osteoporosis (causing bone loss):

  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Advanced age
  • Previous fracture
  • Long term glucocorticoid therapy
  • Low body weight (less than 58kg)
  • Family history of hip fracture
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Drop in estrogen (late onset of menstrual periods, absent or infrequent periods and premature early menopause before age of 45)
  • Pituitary gland failure (hypopituitarism)
  • Chronic illness such as chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease, coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Low Vit D
  • Low Calcium intake
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia

Smoking cigarettes is known to be harmful to our health whether if you are a smoker or passive smoker. Smoking causes lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema and etc. Quiting smoking is very much depend on willpower of the person to be ready to quit. Government increases the taxes for cigarettes every year and it will become more expensive to smoke cigarettes in future.

If you need help to quit smoking, you can talk to your doctor about this. There are medications can be prescribed by the doctors to help with quitting smoking.

  1. Champix- authority prescription by a doctor is required. Champix works by reducing craving for cigarettes smoking. It works well in 50-80% of  people who are on Champix. Side effects of the medication are nausea, headache, insomnia and vivid dreams. These side effects tend to wear off after few weeks of taking Champix. The whole course of Champix takes 3-6 months depending on individual circumstances and patient will need to go back to see the doctor again for continuation of prescription of Champix. Part of the criteria for this prescription, patient will need to enrol into counselling program like Quitline (Ph: 137848). Exception for patient who have severe depression, Champix may not suitable in such circumstances. 
  2. Nicotine patch- known to be available for a long time even before Champix. Nicotine patch is a replacement therapy for cigarretes smoking given cigarretes have nicotine in it which is known to cause craving. Nicotine patch is now available through doctor prescription under PBS. This means it is cheaper to buy nicotine patch with doctor prescription rather than over the counter.
  3. Zyban/Bupropion- rarely prescribed nowadays due to its more signficant side effects as there is better alternative. It is thought to help with craving and other withdrawal effects from nicotine.

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