Osteoporosis : Awareness is the cure !

Almost no one in recent times would be unaware of this term: Osteoporosis. The awareness about this debilitating disease of our society is increasing every day due to an increase in fractures among our senior citizens. Let’s delve a bit deeper and find out how we can counter it.

Osteoporosis in simple words is a degenerative metabolic disease characterized by fragile bones, weak musculature, and an increase in the chances of fractures. This is primarily due to low calcium, vitamin D and Bone Matrix Protein. The severity of the condition increases with advancing age. Usually, the bone mineral density decreases and due to this the bones become susceptible to fractures.

The individuals usually come to the clinician with symptoms of weakness, lethargy, and joint pains. On proper investigations like X-rays, blood calcium, and Vit D levels and DEXA scan the diagnosis and grading of osteoporosis are done. Patients are then advised proper medications and prevention steps are explained to avoid fracture.

Causes:

  1. Diet: Diet low in calcium and protein.
  2. Sedentary lifestyle.
  3. Alcoholism.
  4. Smoking and chewing tobacco.
  5. Prolonged illness and bed rest.
  6. Certain medication hindering calcium absorption in the body.
  7. Cancer.

The normal bone making capacity of a person and the strength depends on the optimum levels of bone matrix protein and Calcium. So, the inadequate amounts of these result in fragile bones. Also, the muscles which are not toned and strong, they might fail to create a balance during a fall, causing a fracture.

Prevention:

  1. Awareness: Proper education of this condition to the public is very essential.
  2. Diet(rich in calcium and protein) and training to create a strong and resilient body is really helpful. Yoga, Stretch bands, rowing machine, free weight or body weight exercises should be taught and practiced regularly.
  3. Quitting smoking and alcohol and developing good food habits.
  4. To avoid taking sedative medication which can cause drowsiness and result in fall.
  5. To remove household hazards such as throw rugs, in order to reduce fall.
  6. Installation of safety grab bars in hallways and bathroom.
  7. To wear shoes that fit well and have a sturdy sole grip.
  8. To live an active life and to increase daily activity levels.

The key to having a healthy and safe old age is living a healthy life every-day and optimizing the diet and exercise routines from time to time to gain maximum benefits.

Author: Dr. Sidney Xavier Dsa (Orthopaedic Surgeon).