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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Osteoporosis | ඔස්ටියොපොරෝසිස්

World Osteoporosis day is due on 20th of October, this fact sheet is meant to commemorate this event,  

 Osteoporosis means loss of bone materials and weakening of its structure causing fractures. The disease is commonly seen in older women and men. In addition to fractures, osteoporosis leads to bending of spine resulting backache, gradual shortening of standing height and abnormal standing posture. Osteoporosis is no longer considered an inevitable part of aging; it is recognized, now, a disease affecting only some men and women.

In the entire world, there are 200 million women suffering from osteoporosis while Europe, Japan and USA, together, have 75 million women affected. In general, every third women over 60-70 years have osteoporosis and over 80 years, 2/3 women are likely to have the disease.

Fracture is the most dangerous complication of osteoporosis. While fractures could occur at any site, spine, hip and wrist fractures are the common sites affected in osteoporosis. Of these, hip fracture has major health concerns. Hip fracture is associated with high mortality (risk of death) and morbidity (risk of being not well) and nearly 50% of patients need help for their daily normal activities (like walking, going to washroom), one year after the fracture.

Worldwide, there were 1.6 million hip fractures in 1990 and this number is expected to reach 6.26 million in 2050. Most of these hip fractures are expected to occur in countries in Asia and South America. In Sri Lanka, there were 2700 hip fractures in 2006 and this figure is expected to reach 7000 in 2040.

Prevention of fractures includes two aspects.
(1) Promoting stronger bones in general
2) Treating people who are likely to develop a fracture

Sufficient protein intake during growing period is essential for children. An adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D should be ensured. There are numerous inexpensive sources of calcium in traditional Sri Lankan diet. While small fish add high calcium and vitamin D to the diet, green leaves are an inexpensive source of calcium available in the entire country right round the year.

In addition to nutrition, physical activities during childhood will ensure stronger bones. Exercise needs to be continued throughout the entire life to get the maximum benefits. While high impact physical activities such as jumping and skipping are the most beneficial activities for young, brisk walking, running and jogging can be recommended for middle age people. Elderly need to consult their doctor before engaging in new physical activity programs.

In conclusion, osteoporosis is no longer considered an inevitable effect of ageing. Proper nutrition and physical activities help to maintain optimum bone health regardless of age. There are proven drugs to treat patients who have a high chance for fracture.

Prepared by Osteoporosis, Sri Lanka for Osteoporosis Day 2011

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