Scientific Update on Bone Health: Experts call for national programme to promote bone health

Kozhikode: Osteoporosis, a multifactorial disorder characterized by reduced bone mass and an increased risk of fragility fractures, needs population based studies, with specific reference to genetic, social and environmental factors and remedial action in the form of national programme for bone health and supplementation, said Dr Sanjeev Patel, President Elect British Society for Rheumatology and Consultant Rheumatologist Kings College Hospital, University of London.

He was inaugurating the conference on “Scientific Update on Bone Health” jointly organized by Calicut Rheumatology Forum and Centre for Rheumatology, Kozhikode at Taj Gateway, Kozhikode.

Osteoporosis related fractures, disability, pain and sufferings and other conditions resulting from reduced bone mineral density (BMD) is a significant public health issue. Lack of general awareness about bone health and osteoporosis need to be addressed through a national level road map for monitoring and action, involving state health sectors, medical and other health care professionals, he said.

Dr Vinod Ravindran, Dr S Bhadran, Dr P V Bhargavan, Dr Remesh Bhasi, Dr Balakrishanan Valliyot, Dr Geetha Rajan, Dr Suma Balan, Dr Sajan Mohan Raj, Dr Raju A Gopal and Dr James Mitchell led the sessions.

Expressing concern over the extend of poor public awareness on bone density, Dr Vinod Ravindran, Centre for Rheumatology, Chevarambalam and Organising Secretary said that early detection is the key for prevention of osteopenia (low bone density) and osteoporosis (lowest).

Bone mineral density is generally measured using T-scores. It is a comparison of the patients BMD with that of a healthy 30 year old as per WHO standards. A T score of -1.0 and above is normal. T score between -1.0 and -2.5 means osteopenia and a score below -2.5 is a diagnosis of osteoporosis, he said.

Increasing life expectancy and substantial increase in aging population has naturally resulted in escalation of osteoporotic cases. India has 23 crore population above 50 years. The 60 plus population is expected to double from the current 8 percent in next 20 years.

Women need special attention as they are the most affected. Studies indicate that 10 to 60 percent of women in different age group has osteoporosis, Dr. Vinod Ravindran said.

‘What is my T score? Postmenopausal woman and men above 50 with risk factors should be necessarily asking. It is as important as knowing the blood pressure and sugar levels, he said.

Genetic factors along with many living environment factors including diet, lifestyle and physical activity are found to influence bone mineral density contributing to osteoporosis.

Government is addressing calcium requirements in pregnant and lactating mothers via supplementation programmes. However low intake of calcium and vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in all age groups from infants to postmenopausal woman. A comprehensive national bone health awareness programme is imperative to address the issue, Dr. Vinod Ravindran added.

Dr Sanjeev Patel also spoke on the myths regarding the role of Vitamin D and Calcium supplementation. Too much of calcium is also not good for health. Always seek evaluation of experts, he said.

The conference held important discussions on current concepts on Osteoporosis, Role of Vitamin D and Calcium, Changing spectrum of osteoporosis diagnosis, the calcium supplementation conundrum, Latest developments in osteoporosis management and Pediatric Perspectives.

The conclave was attended by more than 200 expert rheumatologists, physicians and orthopaedic surgeons across the state.


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