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World Osteoporosis Day: 25 Million Indians Have Osteoporosis

  By posted Oct 20th 2013
Healthy Living
Dr.Rajeev K. Sharma

Dr.Rajeev K. Sharma

Since 1988, Dr Rajeev Sharma has then been associated with Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi (the first JCI accredited hospital in India) as Senior Consultant Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement Surgeon. He has written a book “Atlas of Joint Replacement Techniques” and also an abstract “Year Book Of Chiropractic – 1995”.He has conducted over 2000 Total Joint Replacements with infection rate of less than 0.3% in last 3 years. Dr Rajeev has also conducted more than 1000 cases of Total Knee Arthroplasty using Computer Navigation and started first Bone Bank at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi.

World Osteoporosis Day: 25 Million Indians Have Osteoporosis


Accelerated bone loss after menopause is a major cause of osteoporosis in women, and preventive action is the only recourse.

The ageing process brings in its wake a series of changes in the body. As we grow wiser, we also realise that our body that was once at our command will not be so all our lives. As muscles weaken, eyes give in, hair turns grey and skin loses its sheen, you realise that your body has weathered a lot. Bone mass or density is lost as we age. This happens in both men and women but it is especially aggravated in women after menopause. The bones lose calcium, vitamin D and other minerals and start losing their density. In extreme cases they become abnormally porous and fragile and extremely susceptible to fractures. This extreme condition is often described as osteoporosis and can become a dangerous for the elderly. This is why we hear about so many hip, knee and shoulder fractures in older people. It is therefore important to understand the way the condition works and aggravates.

As a part of the ageing processes both men and women lose their bone density by 0.3% to 0.5% after the age of 35 years. In women estrogen (a hormone) is important to maintain bone density. When estrogen levels drop after menopause, the loss of bone density accelerates. Deficiency of calcium and vitamin D can aggravate osteoporosis, though it is not the main and only cause.

According to estimates, as many as 25 million Indians are likely to be affected by osteoporosis. In fact, in India osteoporotic fractures may occur at a younger age than in the West. Recent research and studies have pointed out to widespread vitamin D deficiencies across India. The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is a major factor in the poor bone health of Indians. Poor sunlight exposure and a vitamin D-deficient diet are some obvious causes.
 
The bad news is that osteoporosis will be present in the human body without any symptoms for decades and it doesn't cause symptoms until the bones start fracturing. Moreover, some osteoporotic fractures may escape detection for years when they do not cause symptoms. Hence, the patients may not be aware of their osteoporosis problem until they suffer from a painful fracture. Depending on the location of fracture the symptoms differ but the usual symptom is pain and disability.
 
Risk factors for osteoporosis:

 

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Poor nutrition and a diet low in calcium and vitamin D
  • Low estrogen levels
  • Chemotherapy that can cause early menopause due to its toxic effects on the ovaries
  • Menstruation and intense exercise and anorexia is also a facotr
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or liver diseases
  • Immobility after a stroke
  • Hyperthyroidis or the problem of excessive sweating
  • Long-term use of anti-seizure medications and long-term use of oral steroids.

 
Osteoporosis Prevention:

The age old adage that prevention is better than cure holds 100 per cent in the case of osteoporosis. In fact, the only way to prevent osteoporosis is to start working with your bones when they are still young. Do not let bone loss to set in early by faulty practices.

  • Eat a calcium rich diet
  • Ensure adequate exposure to the sun for vitamin D
  • Get a routine bone density check-up after the age of 35
  • Exercise to strengthen the bones
  • Quit smoking and alcohol


FOR MORE: Osteoporosis

*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

 

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