Stay healthy, shun sedentary lifestyle

Well-being matters

Fiftytwo-year old Mandira Mehta, mother of two, woke up one morning to a medical emergency. She stepped out of bed and twisted her ankle. Though she applied balm and tied her hurting ankle with a crepe bandage, even hobbling around the house preparing food and packing her two children off to school, the pain was excruciating.

She headed to her doctor and was told she had fractured her ankle! A small twist resulting in a fracture and cast was beyond her comprehension, till the doctor told her that it could be related to osteoporosis. Tests revealed that it was indeed the case.

Says Dr Raju Vaishya, Senior Joint Replacement Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital “The incidence of osteoporosis is seven times more in women than in men. Osteoporosis is a very silent disease to start with. Women tend to gain weight post pregnancy and undergo various hormonal changes which increases their chances of developing osteoporosis.”

But the more alarming fact is that , “Most people don’t get to know that they are suffering from the disease until they get arthritis or fractures. In such cases, they should get themselves diagnosed regularly,” advises Dr Vaishya.

May is being observed as the National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention month. A laudable initiative as information and awareness about osteoporosis and its causes is nearly negligible. The ‘brittle bones’ disease is known to affect millions of people, specifically women, across the world, where most of them get their fractures fixed without ever realising they suffer from osteoporosis or low bone mass.

Deepti Duggal, mother of a five-year-old tells Metrolife that even her daughter is being asked to take preventive measures for osteoporosis. “On the recommendation of the doctors and her school, I give my daughter osteoporosis calcium. In fact, the school makes the children play under the sun so that they get enough of vitamin D,” says Duggal. It comes as a surprise to learn that a disease which is known to affect the elderly, has also intruded into the lives of young school going children. However, Duggal believes that past the age of 30, women should be very conscious about their health, diet and regular with all the medications.

“I make it a point that I wake up at 5 am everyday and go for a brisk walk for 30-35 minutes. My daily meals include a normal dal, sabzi and roti and I consume eggs on a daily basis. Even though I don’t follow a very strict diet plan, I avoid junk food and restrict my cravings for just one day in a week,” she tells Metrolife.

Bad lifestyle is one of the big causes for osteoporosis according to Dr Vaishya. “These days, people are used to high consumption of processed and junk foods which lack the basic nutrients. Moreover, the alcohol, steroids, nicotine and tobacco intake of a person will widely affect his/her chances of being afflicted with osteoporosis” says Dr Vaishya.

Where one can always read about the general constraints of adopting a healthy lifestyle, the very awareness of certain diseases, especially osteoporosis, is one of the formative steps that go in their prevention.

Dr Sanjay Gupta, additional director, Department of Bone and Joint, Jaypee Hospital believes that the combined effort of our healthcare system, social communities and the government can help in increasing awareness about such diseases.

“Less than 50 per cent of the women suffering from osteoporosis know about it. In places like United Kingdom, regular screenings are being organised where the causes and preventive measures of osteoporosis are discussed in full detail. Why isn’t something like this done in India,” he asks.

In a country where diseases like small pox and polio have been eradicated, osteoporosis can be targeted too. “Government initiated periodical polio camps, similar measures can be taken for osteoporosis, where people can be bought forward for free medical tests for detecting the disease. Similarly, at a personal level, we as doctors should always inform our patients about getting themselves tested for osteoporosis” suggests Dr Gupta.

Nonetheless, being conscious and aware is all that it takes to lead a healthy and happy
life. When women like Duggal can manage their regular routines with such perfection, so can everybody else. Empowering the osteoporosis awareness and prevention initiative.

with immense positivity she says, “You only have one life and you should make the best of it! Apart from getting medical checkups done on a regular basis, we should also adopt measures on a personal level to keep ourselves informed. Social media platforms are informative and one should always read stuff about healthcare and well-being.”

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