Never take your bones for granted

Ingy Deif, Thursday 24 Feb 2011

Osteoporosis is not only increasing dramatically but is affecting males, younger people and those who give the impression of being healthy and active

backache

Whenever osteoporosis or the problem of brittle bones is mentioned, the first thing that usually pops to mind is a picture of a grandmother or a stooping, elderly lady. 

Well, that was in the past. Gone are the days when victims were mainly elderly women. More and more research is pointing out that not only is the problem expanding dramatically, but other age and gender groups are affected, with a noticeable increase in males, younger people and even those who used to give the impression of being healthy and extremely active.

Whenever osteoporosis or the problem of brittle bones is mentioned, the first thing that usually pops to mind is a picture of a grandmother or a stooping, elderly lady.

 Well, that was in the past. Gone are the days when victims were mainly elderly women. More and more research is pointing out that not only is the problem expanding dramatically, but other age and gender groups are affected, with a noticeable increase in males, younger people and even those who used to give the impression of being healthy and extremely active.

"Egyptians suffer severely from osteoporosis and the spectrum is widening, "says Dr Adel Hamed, Professor of Orthopedic surgery and Athropathy at Al Azhar university."This is mainly due to poor nutrition which is exacerbated when a woman gives birth several times.”  

Another problem is that patients usually tend to discontinue the use of the prescribed medications, either because they don’t have the patience or the awareness regarding the necessity of prolonged treatment - which is usually the case with the treatment of brittle bones - or simply because they aren't covered by insurance and cannot afford to continue buying the expensive medications. On the bright side diagnosis is improving and the media have contributed in increasing awareness of the problem.

“Never take your bones for granted, and never underestimate the importance of routine checkups," Hamed warns.

Alarm bells

You should be extra aware if you have one or more of these risk factors:

·         If you have been taking a course of corticosteroids for arthritis or asthma for a period of more than three months.

·         If there is a history in the family.

·         If you are a heavy smoker or if you have been dieting.

·         If you have a problem identified as Crohn's coeliac disease or ulcerative colitis which affects the absorption of food.

·         Early menopause or hysterectomy before the age of forty-five.

·         If there is a history of breaking bones easily.

 

Change your lifestyle

If you seriously want to avoid the nightmare of fragile bones and look ahead to years of a healthy and active life, consider these lifestyle changes:

·         Cut down the fizz: fizzy drinks often contain phosphates which reduce the absorption of calcium.

·         Embrace a regular schedule of exercise, especially weight-bearing activities which improves the strength of the skeletal system, this also includes activities where the body is supporting its own weight like skipping or jogging.

·         Decrease your intake of caffeine and smoking as these reduce calcium levels.

·         Ensure there is sufficient calcium in your food.1,000 mg daily is recommended and is found in dairy products, baked beans, broccoli, tofu, soya, kidney beans, wholemeal bread and sardines.

·         Salt is your enemy, a high intake forces the body to excrete calcium.

 

"Egyptians suffer severely from osteoporosis and the spectrum is widening," says Dr Adel Hamed, Professor of Orthopedic surgery and Athropathy at Al Azhar university."This is mainly due to poor nutrition which is exacerbated when a woman gives birth several times.” 

Another problem is that patients usually tend to discontinue the use of the prescribed medications, either because they don’t have the patience or the awareness regarding the necessity of prolonged treatment - which is usually the case with the treatment of brittle bones - or simply because they aren't covered by insurance and cannot afford to continue buying the expensive medications. On the bright side diagnosis is improving and the media have contributed in increasing awareness of the problem. 

“Never take your bones for granted, and never underestimate the importance of routine checkups," Hamed warns.

Alarm bells

You should be extra aware if you have one or more of these risk factors:

• If you have been taking a course of corticosteroids for arthritis or asthma for a period of more than three months.
• If there is a history in the family.
• If you are a heavy smoker or if you have been dieting.
• If you have a problem identified as Crohn's coeliac disease or ulcerative colitis which affects the absorption of food.
• Early menopause or hysterectomy before the age of forty-five.
• If there is a history of breaking bones easily.

Change your lifestyle

If you seriously want to avoid the nightmare of fragile bones and look ahead to years of a healthy and active life, consider these lifestyle changes:

• Cut down the fizz: fizzy drinks often contain phosphates which reduce the absorption of calcium.
• Embrace a regular schedule of exercise, especially weight-bearing activities which improves the strength of the skeletal system, this also includes activities where the body is supporting its own weight like skipping or jogging.
• Decrease your intake of caffeine and smoking as these reduce calcium levels.
• Ensure there is sufficient calcium in your food.1,000 mg daily is recommended and is found in dairy products, baked beans, broccoli, tofu, soya, kidney beans, wholemeal bread and sardines.
• Salt is your enemy, a high intake forces the body to excrete calcium. 
 

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