With the increase in life expectancy of Indians, there is an alarming rise in the number of women with risk of osteoporosis. Some of the reasons that have resulted in osteoporosis are –

*Low calcium intakes,

*poor knowledge about osteoporosis,

*and difficulties in the diagnosis of osteoporosis

It is becoming a major public health problem in India, especially among the Indian women, said Dr Raju Vaishya, President of Arthritis Care Foundation (AFC) & Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

Not much sunlight exposure due to sociocultural reasons, poor intakes of dietary calcium and increasing environmental pollution lead to low bone density among Indian women. According to experts, there are habitual low intakes of calcium in toddlers, adolescents, pregnant and lactating mothers. It is also very common in postmenopausal Indian women.

Marked by thinning of bones, osteoporosis is also referred to as a silent disease for being asymptomatic and remains undetected until the patient faces a fracture (a silent disease). The disease makes the bones brittle to the extent that a minor slip, jerk or fall can lead to a major fracture. Although the condition develops with age, increasingly, osteoporosis is being diagnosed in relatively younger people as well.

“Younger people have become more vulnerable to this disease. It is due to the modern lifestyle, sedentary habit, consumption of alcohol and tobacco, smoking, urban dietary habits of consuming more of high calorific and junk food, adulteration in food, and developing cardiac diseases and diabetes mellitus at a young age,” said Dr Raju Vaishya.

Osteoporosis is more prevalent in women after they reach menopause. Reportedly about 80% of women in India, which is more than three in every four women, have osteoporosis. Menopausal women above the age of 50 are more at risk of osteoporosis.

Explaining why women are more affected or are at higher risk of osteoporosis, Dr Raju Vaishya said “Women have lower bone density than men, and they lose bone mass more quickly, as they age which leads to osteoporosis. It is because of the lack of oestrogen which is a hormone that helps to regulate a woman’s reproductive cycle, and at the same time, plays a key role in making bones strong and healthy in both men and women. While premenopausal women have more oestrogen than men, they experience a dramatic drop in oestrogen production after menopause and therefore are more likely to face faster bone loss leading to osteoporosis.”

Adequate and healthy diet plays a crucial role in the strengthening of bone and human skeletal system. You can avoid or delay Osteoporosis by following a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

Diet management: Especially, for osteoporosis, a diet rich in calcium, protein, magnesium and vitamin D is vital. You can follow these healthy dietary practices-

*Include calcium-rich food in the diet: Calcium strengthens bone. Non-fat milk, yoghurt, broccoli, cauliflower, certain types of fish like salmon, almonds, and green leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of calcium.

*Protein-rich foods like lentils, kidney beans, grains, nuts, and seeds help the body to keep the muscles healthy. Healthy muscles support the bones.

*Reduce the consumption of tobacco and alcohol as much as possible. Avoid Red meat and caffeine.

*Additionally, take calcium supplements as prescribed by your doctor.

Regular exercising improves health in more ways than one and also contributes to preventing the risk of osteoporosis. 

  • Don’t exercise body parts which have a history of fracture. It may cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Increase physical activity and include exercising in daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises and physical activities like running, jumping, walking, and so on help the body maintain good balance and posture.
  • Practice Yoga, as it helps to increase flexibility and strength in the body.

Read – 5 simple exercises to stay fit and healthy. 

Now you know why women are at more risk of osteoporosis. Do you follow any specific things to keep yourself healthy?

Author bio –

Vinod Kumar is a PIB (Press Information Bureau, Government of India) accredited freelance Journalist. At present, he is working as an editor of a monthly health magazine (in English) – “Health Spectrum”. Previously he was a special correspondent in National News Agency – United News of India (UNI). He has written several books on health, science and film in Hindi & English including the first biography of legendary singer Mohammad Rafi.