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Keeping bone disease at bay

Apr 12, 2006 12:12 PM IST India India

New Delhi: The a bone disease osteoporosis afflicts one out of three women and one out of eight men in India, making the country one of the worst affected areas in the world, according to WHO.

R.C.Banerjee, an accomplished cartoonist, had no plans of slowing down even at 72. He was busy penning novels and spending time with his grandchildren.

But a nasty fall landed him in the hospital with a broken bone and lifelong pain--all because of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease, which reduces the density of bones, increasing the risk of fracture. In many cases, the bone loss is gradual and without symptoms or warning signs until the disease is in an advanced stage. That is why osteoporosis is often referred to as the "silent epidemic".

Dr. Sushil Sharma, Chairman, Arthritis Foundation of India says, "Treatment for osteoporosis comprises of exercises and medication which needs to be continued for two to three years. Sometimes the medication lasts for life depending on the extent of bone loss. For women, the most popular treatment is hormone replacement therapy. The process replaces the oestrogen lost after menopause, which is a prime cause for osteoporosis. Drugs to reduce fractures also help. These injections cost anywhere between Rs 35,000 and Rs 40,000 per month."

However, prevention is always better than cure and it is really quite simple. Bask in the sunlight to get plenty of vitamin K and exercise regularly.

Increase your calcium and protein intake including milk and Soya beans because they are known to strengthen the bones. Avoid soft drinks that strip away bone minerals. Chances are that you could actually be able to keep osteoporosis at bay.

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