Why is osteoporosis an important public health issue?

1,491 Views Updated: 29 Aug 2016
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Why is osteoporosis an important public health issue?

Facts about osteoporosis

    It is a condition wherein the person is more susceptible to fractures due to fragile bones or weaken bones.

  After the age of 35 years, bone mass decreases and there is a loss of calcium from bones. This is more rapid in women during perimenopause stage.

    The person suffering from osteoporosis have no symptoms until fracture of bones occurs.

    Osteoporosis can be diagnosed by X-ray or by doing bone mineral density.

    Treatment of osteoporosis includes medication and also avoiding alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.

    One should develop a routine with an adequate exercise regime and including foods rich in calcium and regular exposure to sun rays for maintaining vitamin D status.

Osteoporosis is the disorder in which bones become weak. Brittle, and easily broken or damaged as there is a decrease in mineralization of bones over time. This condition is characterized by decreased bone mineral density resulting in reducing strength and increasing the fragility of bones. In other words, Osteoporosis makes the bones porous in an abnormal manner and thus increases the risk of fracture.

The composition of normal bone is deposition of protein, collagen, and calcium. All these give the strength to bones. Osteoporotic bones can break with a minor injury. Also, the fracture could be in the form of just a crack or complete collapse of bones due to compressing of the bones. Frequent fractures occur on the following sites: hips, ribs, spine and wrists.

Signs and Symptoms

Osteoporosis is a condition where the person doesn’t have any symptoms until there is any fracture. However, severe pain in the fractures is the only symptom for osteoporosis. Spine fractures cause severe back pain. In this, there could be a loss of height because of curving of the spine due to collapsing of vertebrae. Whereas hip fractures occur only if you have a fall. The healing of hip fractures is slow because of poor healing of the osteoporotic bone.

Risk factors for Osteoporosis

These factors are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis:

    Gender- women are at more risk

    Race – Caucasians or Asians are at increased risk

    Body frame – Individuals with thin and small body frame

    Family history of osteoporosis

    Smoking

    Excessive consumption of alcohol

    Malabsorption

    Lower estrogen levels in women and low testosterone levels in men

    Amenorrhea

    Hyperthyroidism

    Hyperparathyroidism

    Lack of vitamin D, important for calcium absorption

Osteoporosis – public health problem

Osteoporosis is considered as the major global public health problem that is associated with mortality, morbidity, and socioeconomic burden. Osteoporosis has also linked with increased risk of death due to frequent fractures. In India, about 26 million persons are affected by this condition. About 20% women and 10% men are reported to be osteoporotic. In Indian population, osteoporosis occurs at the much earlier age of about 40 to 50 years of age compared to the people from western countries where this condition is more prevalent in the age group of 60 to 70 years of age. Further, high body weight is associated with higher risk of fractures due to the collapse of bones. Also, low serum calcium levels and 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency are linked to the reduction of bone mass and risk of frequent fractures. All these issues make osteoporosis a major public health problem in India and also worldwide. The pain and fractures occurring in osteoporotic patients will have a significant impact on overall health of the individual and thus will directly affect the economic costs.


Osteoporosis being condition wherein symptoms are not visible until you suffer from a fracture. Hence, extra effort by every individual is necessary to maintain their health by regularly exercising for at least 30 to 45 minutes a day and consuming foods rich in calcium such as milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, fish, almonds, ladies finger, egg, orange juice, and adequate sunlight that helps in synthesis of vitamin D. One has to avoid smoking and drinking if you are osteoporotic. Another precaution that needs to be taken is regular checking your bone mineral density especially after the age of 35 years. This is more important for women when having menopause problems. Further, women can undergo for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause. HRT prevents bone loss, increasing the bone density and thus prevents bone fractures.

Posted by: neharlohia Posts: (34) Opinions: (354) Points: 5,773 Rank: 19

yes it can prevent osteoporosis.

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