Wellness: Who suffers from weak bones?

By Dr. Yash Gulati

Osteoporosis is considered a disease of the elderly. How big is this myth?
This is a common problem for people over the age of 50. As a person gets older, the risk of getting the disease increases because the bone mass is destroyed faster than it builds up. Nowadays, the disease is also seen in children and adults, due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Who is at risk of disease?
Women and men over the age of 50 who have a family history of the disease and are overweight.

How to recognize the early symptoms of the disease?
Some common symptoms are cramps and bone pain, brittle nails and frequent fractures.

Do Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements Work for Everyone? What is the normal dose recommended?
A study conducted in India found that about 70% of the population is deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important for transporting calcium to the bones so that the bones can be strong.

Vitamin D has also been shown to be important in the treatment of osteoporosis. Therefore, when treating osteopenia or osteoporosis, certain medications for osteoporosis are usually combined with vitamin D and calcium for a better response.

Generally speaking, 60,000 units of vitamin D once a week and 500 mg of calcium once a day is sufficient for people who are deficient in vitamin D. It is also a myth that injectable vitamin D works better than oral vitamin D therapy. Injectable vitamin D is used only when the patient has some absorption problem. After three to four months of taking vitamin D, a maintenance dose of 60,000 units of vitamin D once a month will suffice.

What type of screening is recommended to diagnose the disease and at what age is it recommended?
Bone mineral density scan or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is recommended to diagnose the disease for all older women over 65 years of age.

Dr. Yash Gulati Senior Consultant, Orthopedics, Joint Replacement & Spine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi

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