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Friday , 9 December 2016
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India suffers from poor bone health; Osteoporosis & bone fractures widely prevalent

  • Number of osteoporosis cases is rising in India due to lack of nutritional diets amongst its population
  • The threshold of osteoporosis has shifted downwards with more youngsters falling prey to the condition

New Delhi, 27th August 2015: Neha, 42, slipped from a chair and suffered a fracture of the right hand. Since the fall had not been too hard, she was surprised that she had broken her bone. A bone density test revealed she had osteoporosis of the level that is usually prevalent in women 20 years her senior.

As we observe Bone & Joint Day, such cases put the spotlight on the deteriorating state of bone health among Indians due to a variety of factures such as unhealthy diets, lack of physical exercise, poor lifestyles and lack of sun exposure.

Increasing life expectancy means that Indians are living longer today, but are they living healthy? Probably not! Neha  a had not yet hit menopause and she was already suffering from osteoporosis.

More and more young Indians are reporting occurrence of osteomalacia or osteoporosis. There is evidence to suggest a downward shift in the age threshold of osteoporosis in India.

“The progressive bone loss due to decrease in bone density and its strength is known as Osteoporosis. According to a new report ‘The Asian Audit’ by International Osteoporosis Foundation, the burden of hip fractures  in 14 Asian countries, India is second only to China in sheer numbers with 4.4 lakh suffering from the condition. It further estimates India to record 6 lakh hip fractures annually in 2020 which will increase to a million in 2050 owing to the spreading osteoporosis in the country,”says Dr Rajeev K Sharma, Senior Consultant, Orthopedic & Joint Replacement Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

As per the report, the Indian population consumes much lower amounts of calcium (300-500 mg/day) than the ideal daily intake. The widespread deficiency of Vitamin D and low calcium intake form the prime reasons for alarming increase in osteoporosis. The situation is grimmer for India as the condition is becoming significant in youngsters as well. The early one starts losing bone density, the early the occurrence of fractures will start.

 “Osteoporosis is a degenerating condition ideally occurring in old age. However, today, the problem of low bone mineral density has spread amongst the youngsters as well. As a part of ageing processes both men and women, lose their bone density by 0.3% to 0.5% after the age of 35 yrs. However, with the change in lifestyle, the threshold age for osteoporosis has shifted downwards as more number of youngsters is falling prey to the condition,” said Dr Sharma.

According to International Osteoporosis Foundation, nearly 50 million people in India were either osteoporotic or had low bone mass in 2013. With statistics revealing 1 out of 8 males and 1 out of 3 females to be affected from osteoporosis in India, the country is one of the largest countries affected from osteoporosis in the world, states WHO.

Since osteoporosis is not a direct cause of mortality, this epidemic is often relegated to the backburner of public consciousness. However, osteoporosis is one of the leading causes of ailments and hospitalization in old age from fractures. With slender bones, a large number of elderly suffer fractures and spend time restricted to bed.

With the fetish of attaining model like body shape, teenagers often opt for diets and food control that prevent them from taking sufficient nutrients.

“Surprisingly, consumption of milk has subtly disappeared from the diets of today’s youth. Children today tend to quit milk as soon as they enter their teenage. Many also completely quit milk products such as cottage, cheese and butter considering them to be fattening. It is pertinent to note that adequate intake of milk and other dairy product is essential for body and bones. Soya milk and other soya products do not have calcium, which is of utmost importance to bones. Bone healthy foods are all the more important for women who suffer from increased rate of bone loss post menopause,” adds Dr Rajeev.

Other factors are low sun exposure, and lack of exercise that contribute to poor bone health.

Improper diet with insufficient nutrients can be traced as the major cause behind the degrading situation. The shift to the sedentary lifestyle further adds to condition.

Besides elderly people, osteoporosis is common with post-menopausal women as at this stage their body tends to produce less levels of estrogen, which is an important hormone for formation of bone.  Therefore, women are advised to increase calcium intake in their diets as soon as they turn 35 years so that they have strong enough bones by 45 year to bear the loss.

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