Women face a high risk of fractures while the number of women acquiring post-menopausal osteoporosis is on the rise. Going by what doctors have to say, osteoporosis is slowly turning into an epidemic as this silent killer most often goes undetected at early stages.
According to CS Ajmani, a consultant orthopaedic, women enter their menopausal phase once they turn 45 years old or after and are then face the risk of acquiring osteoporosis. Other factors, such as rheumatoid or hyper-parathyroid, also affect women and can cause osteoporosis earlier.
So, has the disease of brittle bones become an epidemic overnight? No, asserts spine surgeon Amit Jhala. In the past five years, the number of patients treated by him for fracture and back pain has increased by around 25%.
“These figures are true compared to what the numbers were five years back. Lack of calcium leads to delayed healing of fractures in patients suffering from osteoporosis. In my view, it is an epidemic. Also, the longevity of life has increased with the average age now being 75 years. But, this life mostly lacks exercise and is coupled with unhealthy food habits and improper vitamin supplements. All of this adds to the patient’s woes,” said Jhala.
Ashit Mehta, an orthopaedic surgeon from Vadodara and past president of the Gujarat Orthopaedic Association (GOA), pointed out at a possible pre-cursor of osteoporosis.
“Six years ago, I started providing printed prescriptions of Vitamin D to patients. About eight months back, I found around 80% of my patients deficient in Vitamin D at a medical camp. The figure was alarming. So, as a rule, 70% of my patients take the vitamin D test first, and if found deficient, are treated with supplements. There is a lot of improvement with this treatment.
Additionally, they are required to maintain healthy lifestyles, which double their chances of staying fit longer,” said Mehta.
Conversely, hand fracture specialist and orthopaedic surgeon Shrenik Shah has a different story to tell. He claimed that the hype behind osteoporosis is driven by pharmaceutical companies.
“Pharmaceutical companies want to sell their drugs and hence, have created hype. The best way to avoid osteoporosis is by consuming milk and milk products regularly. For those above 55 years of age, an active lifestyle along with regular exercise; eating the right kind of food with adequate vitamins and minerals supply, and regular check-ups are advised. Admittedly, people aged 35 and above, working in air-conditioned offices, eating at their desk and not exercising, are definitely at a high risk of suffering osteoporosis,” said Shah.
World Osteoporosis Day
World Osteoporosis Day, launched on October 20, 1996, by the United Kingdom’s National Osteoporosis Society, was supported by the European Commission. The day has been celebrated by the International Osteoporosis Foundation since 1997 with the World Health Organization (WHO) having co-sponsored it in 1998 and 1999.