Asians at high risk of deadly bone disease

ISLAMABAD: The government should launch a campaign to educate people about osteoporosis, a deadly bone disease, on the pattern of HIV and malaria, as incidences of the disease are increasing in Asia, said experts at a seminar organised by the Rawalpindi/Islamabad Chapter of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Saturday.

Prominent orthopaedic surgeons Dr Aamer Nur, Dr Rizwan Hameed Malik and Dr Mansoor Ali Khan expressed their views on the disease, illustrating their points with video slides.

They said Asians were at high risk of osteoporosis, as by 2050 more than half of hip fracture cases due to decreased bone mass worldwide would be in Asia, up from around 30 percent in 1990. Of 6.25 million hip fracture cases expected by 2050, about 3.25 million or 52 percent will be in Asia, they forecast.

Osteoporosis leads to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and wrist. Fracture rates increase rapidly with age. The disease, which afflicts women more than men, is characterised by decrease in bone mass, causing bones to become brittle and break easily.

In osteoporosis the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone micro architecture is disrupted and the amount and variety of non-collagenous proteins in bone is altered.

The experts said the disease could be prevented through lifestyle advice and sometimes medication. The results of the Asian Osteoporosis Study have suggested that many lifestyle factors might be associated with the disease, such as low dietary calcium intake, a sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking and alcoholism.

Osteoporosis is a silent condition and in the absence of fragility fracture is diagnosed by measuring bone mineral density (BMD) using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).

Source: Daily Times, 3/8/2008

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