The world may be living in paranoia around the rapidly increasing incidences of diseases like Cancer and HIV and the impending apocalypse may be giving them the shivers, however, people usually tend to ignore the potential threat posed by ailments that come across as relatively harmless. Osteoporosis happens to be one of them. It is essentially a disease that entails reduction of bone density (bone density measures the mineral content of the bone and is an indicator of the strength of the same) which makes one more prone to fractures. Age is a major contributing factor to Osteoporosis but what seems alarming is the fact that it happens to be a silent disease; you don’t realize you are suffering from it until a bone gets fractured suddenly.
1 in 3 women over 50 are supposedly affected by osteoporosis as opposed to 1 out of 5 men. Females, post-menopausal women in particular, are more susceptible to osteoporosis mainly because their bodies produce less estrogen – a hormone which is a vital component in bone formation. Hysterectomy and the removal of the ovaries may also increase the risk for osteoporosis because of the resultant loss of estrogen. Irregular periods and amenorrhoea (sudden loss of menstrual cycle among young women) could also be a reason.
Deficiency of calcium is another cause. A majority of the Indian population is vegetarian and our primary sources of calcium are milk products which are not available to a large chunk owing to the prevailing poverty. Moreover, most women in our country are expected to do all the household chores while the males go out to work. Often, a woman is so caught up with responsibilities that she does not find time to take care of herself. There is thus a lack of nutrients in her body and in most cases; her health is ignored till an emergency comes up. Osteoporosis is also known to affect urban women a lot more than their rural counterparts. This is owing to their lack of exposure to the sun which happens to be the biggest source of Vitamin D. Lesson learnt: sunscreen does more harm than good. Also, excessive smoking and a constant intake of alcohol adds to the problem. Guess, being a modern woman in a big city is not so cool after all.
People, especially women need to be encouraged to go out and bask in the sunlight, do their exercises regularly, go for regular check-ups and eat well. Smoking and drinking need to be cut down or done away with completely. One needs to remember that weak and brittle bones equal restriction in mobility and hinder one from doing the most basic of activities. A flourishing and happy life is what everyone seeks, there should be nothing stopping us from living normally, therefore, diseases like osteoporosis are mere barriers we need to overcome. We could start by following a healthy lifestyle, it sure is better than any medicine known to mankind.