World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is a global call to take charge and improve osteoporosis healthcare policies around the world that was observed on October 20th, 2008. This year’s theme was “Stand tall, speak out for your bones” which aimed to initiate the change needed in osteoporosis healthcare policies by marshalling millions of people to speak up and speak out in order to help improve osteoporosis procedures in government and private health care systems.
Despite yearly efforts, healthcare policies of the country are yet to recognise osteoporosis as one of its priority health issues. This apathy towards the condition directly impacts availability of resources for diagnosis and treatment. Further, most of the private and public health providers cover only after a fracture has occurred. With no allocation for the prevention, early detection and treatment of osteoporosis, prior to a fracture, questions have been raised about the significance of this medical condition in the private and government healthcare policies.
Changing the perception
Osteoporosis, dubbed as a silent epidemic is known to strike silently and painlessly without clear cut symptoms; most patients are shocked to learn about the condition following an unexpected fracture. It is a chronic skeletal disease caused by the progressive loss of bone density. Depletion of minerals, specifically calcium from the bones reduces the density of the bones, making them porous and brittle. This increases the propensity for fracture anywhere in the body.
Bones at the wrist, spine and hip are especially prone to fractures. Therefore, awareness of risk factors of osteoporosis is paramount to prevention of the condition.
Dr Md Shah Alam, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mitford Hospital said, “It is widely know that osteoporosis is exclusively an illness just for old ladies but the truth is it can also affect young individuals and both genders. The current global statistic says — 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men have a chance of developing osteoporosis. This indicates that a significant number of our people are at risk of developing the disease. They are also placing a financial and emotional burden on medical resources, their families and caregivers”.
He urged that osteoporosis should be taken as a public health priority and more efforts are needed to promote early detection. “Identifying and treating patients at risk of fracture, before it happens, will substantially decrease the long term yoke of developing the life sentence of osteoporosis”, Dr Alam added.
Boning up with exercise
The key to exercising with osteoporosis is to find the safest, most enjoyable activities for you, given your overall health and amount of bone loss. There is no one-size-fits-all prescription. Three types of activities are often recommended for people with osteoporosis: Strength training exercises, especially those for the back; Weight-bearing aerobic activities; and Flexibility exercises.
Movements to avoid
High-impact exercises, such as jumping, running or jogging. These activities increase compression in your spine and lower extremities and can lead to fractures in weakened bones. Avoid jerky, rapid movements in general. Choose exercises with slow, controlled movements.
Exercises in which you bend forward and twist your waist, such as touching your toes, doing sit-ups or using a rowing machine.
Source: The Daily Star, October 25, 2008