Are you clumsy? Are you susceptible to even minor falls? If the answer is yes, then its time to seriously think about your health. These are some of the common symptoms of Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, in simple terms, is a condition of increased vulnerability to fracture due to fragile and porous bone. Osteoporosis weakens the bone thereby increasing the risk of bone fracture.

Doctors warn that women are more prone to it as their bone mass density decreases after the age of 35 and further decreases after menopause. Bone mass (bone density) is the amount of bone present in the skeletal structure. Higher the bone density, stronger is the bone.

According to WHO, Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis occurs primarily as a result of normal ageing.

In the US, records with the National Osteoporosis Foundation, show that Americans spend billions of dollars every year on osteoporosis. More than 10 million suffer from the disease followed by around 34 million who suffer from low bone density.

The situation in India is no better, says Dr Sandip Gupta, a consultant orthopedic and spine surgeon at Friends Orthopedic and Physiotherapy Centre in New Delhi. “This is because there is a lack of awareness about the disease. So patients come very late when complications have already occurred. And the long term medication and costly treatment that follows acts as a deterrent.”

He agrees that this is a complex issue as in some cases it takes years to detect osteoporosis and as a result, patients remain unaware until they suffer a painful fracture.

In a month, Dr Gupta gets an average of 20 patients, including those undiagnosed with clinical suspicion. Among them are people as young as 25 years old and some even 90 years old.

Sonam Lhamo is a house wife and is in her mid fifties. She has been suffering from osteoporosis form quite a few years now. She still finds it difficult to understand what the disease is all about. Being illiterate, she thinks it’s nothing more than “weak bones.” “I kept on suffering from sprain and minor fracture at home and I used to find it strange. But now I know,” she says.

According to orthopedists, the main factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis are genetic factors, lack of exercise, calcium and vitamin D intake. The other important risks include personal history of fracture as an adult, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, general health, thin and small body frames.

Dr Gupta, therefore, pointed out that parents should ensure good dietary regime for their children right from their childhood. “There are many products that prevent bone from weakening,” he says.

So you better act now or else you could be the next victim.

Report by:Kinga Dema
Copy Edit: Saurabh Sharma
Pix courtesy: Chiropractic Neurology Center