Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak. People think it only happens to older people, especially females. What is not well-known, is that the seeds of osteoporosis are sown very much in one’s youth much before it reveals any of its effects!
Speaking to News18, Dr. Palash Gupta, Director & Co-ordinator, Joint Replacement & Orthopaedics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said, “The poster girl for any osteoporosis campaign is an elderly female but focus needs to be put on young also where early intervention might prevent osteoporosis whereas in elderly all treatment is directed at mitigating its effects and slowing it."
Dr. Gupta said, “A 25-year-old rarely complains of bone pains even if he/she has weak bones. Attention needs to be given if they have repeated fractures (more than two) without major trauma, limb deformities like in the knees which suggests vitamin D deficiency, poor lifestyle choices, low exposure to sunlight as is so common in our modern day air conditioned work environment and specially to hormonal problems specially in females, but also in males."
Doctors believe the deformities that weak bones lead to, early on in life and which are quite common in the children and youth in our country, in later life besides osteoporosis, lay the foundation for arthritis and joint pain.
The human bones are like a bank. They save density only in the youth and reach what is known as ‘peak bone mass’ very much within the early third decade in life and from there it is only a down-hill course. Only the slope of fall will vary between a person who ends up being symptomatic and those who are normal.
Speaking to News18, Dr. Biswarup Sen, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics, said, “The osteoporosis treatment in later age aims only to slow down the bone loss but the battle for osteoporosis can very well be won in the youth by acquiring a higher peak bone density. With a steady increase in life expectancy we need to ensure that our youth have healthier bones so that they can carry on the benefits well into their 80’s and 90’s."
Dr. Ritesh Dang, Senior Consultant, Joint Replacement & Orthopaedics, said, “In certain populations, wheat is the staple diet, but people can be unaware of the fact that they may have gluten sensitivity in food called celiac disease. This can also prove to be a major factor in developing osteoporosis. However, since this is directly linked to diet, a few minor modifications in food habits can rectify this condition."
Doctors believe that an adherence to healthy life style, regular exercise, control of body weight , half hour to forty minutes of sun exposure daily , intake of calcium rich food like milk in our diet and paying attention to bone health when suffering from other chronic illnesses can go a long way in ensuring that the bones remain healthy.
Conditions such as thyroid, irregular or delayed periods in young women, obesity, vitamin D deficiency as well as habits such as lack of exercise, consumption of alcohol, excessive smoking and usage of drugs like anticonvulsants and steroids, a whole range of inflammatory joint and bowel diseases and also diabetes in young people, can all cause osteoporosis.