More youngsters are falling prey to Osteoporosis

Posted by : Mr. Sreehari Nair, 16 Oct 2013 05:46 PM
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As the World Osteoporosis Day falls on the October 20th, Dr. Abhay Nene, Consultant Orthopedic surgeon at PD Hinduja Hospital demystifies the condition – Osteoporosis and the alarming rise in cases amongst youngsters

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition rather than a disease. It remains silent until complications arise and mainly the condition affects the spine, hip and wrist fractures. It is a disease where the quality of the bones gets affected and the myth surrounding this is that it happens because of lack of calcium. Osteoporosis is that when the overall density of the bone starts depleting. It could be a hormonal condition with no direct influx of dietary pattern and is more hereditary than genetic.

Is it true that women are affected more than men?

Yes. Women are more seen to have developed the Osteoporosis condition especially post menopause.  It is believed that the ratio women to men suffering from Osteoporosis are 8:2, which is a staggering number. Medical studies show that 50 year old women are as much at risk of death due to hip fracture as breast cancer.

What is the size of the problem?

Around the world, one in three women and one in five men were at risk of an osteoporotic fracture and the most common being occurrence of fractures at the hip, spine and wrist. In India the size of the population suffering from Osteoporosis has grown from 26 million in 2003 to 36 million by 2013, according to projections of the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

When is incidence of Osteoporosis generally reported?

Peak incidence of osteoporosis is said to be:  Western countries-70-80 years of age and in India at 50-60 years. However in India the age of population reporting to lower bone density, inertia which are likely symptoms of Osteoporosis has been dipping to 30-50s as well, which is a danger signal.

In most cases Osteoporosis is detected when there is a fracture. Even then most doctors who see such patients heal the fracture and leave and do not check for any symptoms of an impending Osteoporosis. The awareness level on Osteoporosis also less among the population so even when a person suffers a fracture a second or third time, he or she doesn’t get checked for this condition. 

Why has there been a higher incidence of reporting from the young population?

Osteoporosis doesn’t happen overnight. The bone mass stops to grow after the age of 35 and so the next whatever amount of years a person lives, he or she lives on the bone strength acquired till that age. So it is important for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle right from childhood. One should be rightfully exposed to the sunlight for Vitamin D, good and balanced intake of calcium and vitamins, exercise regularly etc. Most of the youth today and children are not exposed to things above and thus starts reporting of pain in the joints, neck, hips at a young age.

What are the early symptoms that one can notice of an impending problem?

Signs could be thinning of muscles, inertia, loss of stamina, body pain etc.

Can you share some latest techniques used for treatment?

Osteoporosis does complicate all orthopedic procedures but techniques like Cement Injection and CT Scan guided Vertebroplasty which only Hinduja Hospital does in the whole of India. The test is known for its accuracy and efficacy. 

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