World Osteoporosis Day 2009

by Savitha C Muppala on  October 19, 2009 at 2:11 PM Health In Focus
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World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) which falls on October 20th 2009 is part of the two year campaign to galvanize worldwide support to influence positive changes in government and private healthcare policies to recognize osteoporosis as a priority health issue. Through the theme 'Stand tall - Speak out for your bones', the initiatives seek to address improvement in detection, treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a chronic skeletal disease caused by the progressive loss of bone density. Depletion of minerals, specifically calcium from the bones reduces the density of the bones, making them porous and brittle. This increases the propensity for fracture anywhere in the body. Bones at the wrist, spine and hip are especially prone to fractures.

Awareness Can Avert Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis strikes silently without too many symptoms. Often, it takes an unexpected fracture to discover the condition. Awareness of the risk factors can cut its incidence.

Osteoporosis is not getting its due attention from governments which reflects on the meager resources allocated towards improving awareness, diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Further, many private and public health insurance schemes provide cover only after a fracture has occurred. With no form of reimbursement given for detection and treatment of osteoporosis, prior to a fracture, questions have been raised about the significance of this medical condition in the private and government healthcare policies, worldwide.

Act Fast, India

Osteoporosis is a serious health threat for close to 26 million people in India with a forecast of another 10 million victims in the next 4 years. By 2050, Asia will account for more than 50% of hip fractures in the world.

• Alarmingly, Osteoporosis is a condition which strikes one in five men and one in three women worldwide.

• Osteoporosis is known to be a prominent cause of disability, pain and death among the older generation. This has resulted in increased healthcare expenditure, much more than cost of treatment of other chronic diseases. This is slated to go up threefold due to the ageing population.

• Close to 80% of those at high risk of osteoporosis, having suffered at least one fracture, have escaped diagnosis; hence treatment has also eluded them.

• Nearly 12% to 20% of hip fracture victims do not live beyond a year of the fracture.

Boning up

• 206 rigid bones make up the adult human body. Bones are made up of calcium, phosphorous, sodium, minerals, vitamins and collagen (a protein).

• Bones store calcium and make it available as per the body's requirement. Accumulation of bone mass takes place from childhood till 30 years of age. 

• Recommended Daily Allowance of Calcium for: 

      • Adolescent boy and girl - 1300 mg of calcium 

      • Ages 19-50 - 1000 mg 

      • Above 50 (men and women) - 1200 mg

Women at high risk

Women are born with a reduced bone mass as compared to men. After menopause, bone mass reduces further as there is a fall in the level of estrogen. Now, we know why 71% of osteoporosis related fractures occur in women.

Know the osteoporosis risks

In a nutshell, the risk factors of osteoporosis are:

• Heredity factors increase risk

• Deficiency in calcium intake during the growing up years

• Premature menopause and hysterectomy

• Lack of physical exercise

• Deficiency in estrogen levels

• Smoking and alcohol

• Presence of other medical conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hyperthyroidism and Type I diabetes.

Prevent Osteoporosis

Since maximum accumulation of bone mass takes place before 30 years of age, it is imperative to consume nutritive foods, especially those rich in Calcium and Vitamin D. Consistent weight bearing exercise in the growing up years is good to strengthen the bones, and prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

After the age of 30, it is important to prevent loss of bone density. To do so, one must make appropriate lifestyle and diet modifications

• Consumption of Vitamin D and Calcium supplements as per advice of medical specialists

• Spruce up diet to include more protein and vitamins

• Estrogen replacement therapy for post menopausal women

• Undertake weight bearing exercise on a regular basis

• Reduce smoking and intake of alcohol

Understand what it takes to have strong bones. Tone up your bone health!

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Source: Medindia

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