30% of women in UAE have osteoporosis

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30% of women in UAE have osteoporosis
By Dina El Shammaa/GULF NEWS 05 September 2007

Abu Dhabi: Around 30 per cent of women in the UAE suffer from the common bone disease osteoporosis, said Dr Shivanand Shetty, an orthopedic surgeon at the New Medical Centre.

The age of onset is around 50-years-old. Osteoporosis is a major risk factor for fracture. Dr Shetty spoke to Gulf News regarding reasons behind developing osteoporosis. Risk factors that enhance osteoporosis include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of calcium in one’s diet and lack of exercise.
However, osteoporosis can be avoided at an earlier stage, said Dr Shetty. Until the age of 30 there is constant turnover of the bone in the skeletal system. Bone formation and resorption takes place at an equal rate.


Peak bone mass (adequate deposit of calcium in the bone) is reached by the age of 30. To achieve peak bone mass one needs a diet adequate in calcium, vitamin D and good exercise during the early phases of life. Osteoporosis runs in families; having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts a person at greater risk.
“I advise patients to drink a lot of milk and consume dairy products as well as green vegetables. One whose diet is not adequate in calcium requires calcium supplements and regular exercise,” said Dr Shetty.

One of Dr Shetty’s patients, Shahnaz Ihsan, a housewife, aged 56, spoke to us regarding her experience with osteoporosis.

“Exactly three years ago I started to feel immense pain in my back, my bones were cracking and I visited the doctor who prescribed medicine .. and now feel so much better,” she said.

Ihsan advised other woman to seek medical help if they start to suffer menopausal

Do you wish to know more about Osteoporosis? Read on:


Normal bone is dense and strong. Bones with osteoporosis become porous because of deterioration of the bone tissue, which leads to bone fragility and increase in fracture risk.

Bone undergoes a process of constant remodeling consisting of the breakdown of old bone and re-building of new bone. This resorption (by osteoclasts) and formation (by osteoblasts) occurs at an approximately equal rate thereby maintaining strength of the entire skeleton.

Around the ages 30-35, peak bone mass is attained and the process of bone loss begins. The greater the bone mass accrued prior to this time, the less chance exists for complications from bone loss later.

Osteoporosis is the most type of bone disease and affects both men and women. The condition is characterized by low bone mass, loss of bone architecture, and reduced bone strength. Because people with osteoporosis have brittle bones, they are at increased risk for developing fractures. The most common types of fractures in people with osteoporosis include spinal vertebral fractures, hip fractures, and wrist fractures.

There are two types of osteoporosis:

Primary osteoporosis – bone loss that occurs as a consequence of the normal aging process and most often affects postmenopausal women.

Secondary osteoporosis – bone loss that occurs as a consequence of other factors such as a chronic medical condition, nutritional deficiency, or certain types of medications.

There is currently no cure for osteoporosis. The best treatment available for osteoporosis is prevention. The goals of treatment of patients with osteoporosis include:

To slow the progression of the disease once it has started.
To minimize the risks of complications that may cause pain and reduction in function.

Exercise and attention to safety issues help to maximize mobility and reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

Currently, in the United States, several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and are considered as first-line medications. These medications include:

* Biphosphonates
* Raloxifene
* Nasal calcitonin
* Teriparatide

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