Bone diseases among women are a common occurrence, but of late these problems, especially osteoporosis, are fast affecting men, mostly after they turn 60, experts say.
"Osteoporosis, which was earlier associated with women, has now risen among men as well. The problem affects them mostly after they reach the age of 60 years and above," Hemant Gopal, consultant (Rheumatology) at the Max Super Specialty Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, said.
Osteoporosis occurs when there is a loss in the peak bone mass and loss of calcium, leading to hip, knee and shoulder fractures.
Osteoporosis is ranked as the second most common health-related risk in the world after coronary heart disease. Around 93 % of women are aware of it, but of them, only 8 to 10 % know they have it.
It is estimated that there would be around 36 million people suffering from the disease by the end of 2013.
"The development of the bone mass occurs between the age of 15 to 25 years. However, these days, with changes in lifestyle, less physical activity leads to bone problems at a later age," Gopal added.
Experts feel physical exercise should be done in the right manner, with focus on activities like jumping, running and walking.
"When one is jumping, the load falls on the body and it is useful in developing bone mass. The load should fall on the hand, knees, joints so that they grow stronger," Dhananjay Gupta, of the orthopedics department at Fortis Hospital, said.
A deficiency of vitamin D and lack of mineral-rich food are the other causes of calcium loss in the bones. For this, doctors advise exposure to sun.
Similarly, people suffering from arthritis, liver diseases or who sweat excessively too are prone to bone diseases, doctors said.
"The patients who are on steroids should stop this if they are diagnosed with osteoporosis. Patients who are on long-term medication for conditions like epilepsy should also immediately consult doctors as the steroids for these diseases lead to tremendous calcium loss in the bones," Gupta added.
Ironically, the symptoms of osteoporosis are present in the body long before one gets to know about the problem. And the realization comes when the bones start fracturing.
"Some fractures may escape detection for years. The patients may not be aware of their osteoporosis problem until they suffer painful fractures so we strictly advise people above the age of 35 years to go for a routine bone density check up, " said Rajeev K. Sharma, senior orthopedic and joint replacement surgeon, Apollo Hospital.
Doctors said as part of the aging process, both men and women lose their bone density by 0.3 to 0.5 % after the age of 35.
"People who consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes (which are high calcium stealers) run a higher risk of acquiring bone diseases. Quitting is the best option than to suffer from fractures later in life," Sharma added.
With physiotherapy being the treatment for osteoporosis, many rehabilitation centres have come up in the capital to provide effective treatment.
"The services that we offer are orthopedic rehabilitation, back-and-neck pain therapy, pain management, medical fitness and osteoporosis program," said Gerd Mueller, managing director, AktivOrtho, which has introduced state-of-the-art, German designed rehabilitation equipment together with a team of experienced and certified medical professionals.
In sum, doctors said that both men and women should exercise and eat healthy to avoid bone diseases at a later stage.