The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) raised awareness about Osteoporosis through their regular smart clinic that was held at the DHA headquarters.
Information was disseminated to social media users through the DHA’s Twitter account (DHA_Dubai), Instagram page and through periscope.
Dr Amal Al Jaziri, Consultant and Head of Elderly Care Unit in the DHA Primary Health Authority, said: “Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones, where bones become weak and brittle and are prone to breaking easily. A lot of risk factors and diseases can lead to osteoporosis. Although the disease is particularly prevalent among women after the onset of menopause, men are also prone to the disease. By the age of 70, both men and women lose bone mass at the same rate and the absorption of calcium also decreases in both sexes.
“Women are more prone to developing osteoporosis after menopause because as oestrogen levels fall, new bone is not produced at the same rate, bone mass is reduced, this results in thinning bones and ultimately the development of osteoporosis.
Building peak bone mass before 30 years:
“We should start thinking about our bone health at a very early age. We continue to build bone up until the age of 30 years old, so it is during these years it is very important to get an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D to help increase our peak bone mass. After 30 years, there is a gradual loss of bone, and in women, this accelerates at the time of menopause. Therefore, it is very important to eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, get regular exposure to sunlight during off peak hours, exercise regularly and monitor the strength of our bones.”
Preventing loss of bone mass:
Soha Abdelaziz Abdelaal, senior specialist geriatrician at DHA PHC, said: “Women after age of menopause and men after age of 65 should be screened for osteoporosis risk by a family physician , patients with high risk of osteoporosis are then referred to an osteoporosis clinic.”
In terms of diet Abdelaal said: “Nutrition and osteoporosis are closely linked. If you’re not getting the right nutrients, whether in your diet or through supplements, you’re putting yourself at greater risk for osteoporosis. A diet high in calcium and vitamin D is important. Sources of calcium include milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables (spinach and lettuce), broccoli etc. which should be consumed regularly. For vitamin D, people can opt for fortified sources such orange juice or have tuna, sardines and salmon. Exposure to sunlight during off peak hours is also important.”
In terms of exercise, Ayesha Al Basti, specialist registrar family medicine at DHA PHC highlighted that weight bearing exercises in particular are essential to maintain bone mass.
Al Basti said, in addition to all this, regular done density testing is vital to prevent the onset of the disease.