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Monday, October 29, 2007

World Osteoporosis Day to highlight misconceptions

Times of Oman

MUSCAT — Osteoporosis, long regarded as a women-only disease, also affects as many as one in five men. This and other common misconceptions about the bone disease are expected to be addressed with the launch of World Osteoporosis Day on October 20 in Dubai.

Launching World Osteoporosis Day in Dubai will bring this information to the region.

More than 50 international journalists will be present to cover the occasion which has been secured for the destination by the Emirates Osteoporosis Society, according to information received here.

According to doctors, men get osteoporosis, too, although it is often wrongly regarded as exclusive to women. Women naturally have smaller, thinner bones than men, so they are at higher risk, but 20 per cent of those affected by the disease are men.

Over the age of 50, one in every five men and one in every three women will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

Osteoporosis cannot be dismissed as a disease of the elderly that should only be of concern to older people as this bone disease is not a natural part of ageing and prevention should begin during youth and young adulthood.

The opportunity to build strong bones begins then, when people should adopt a healthy lifestyle based on a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise, no smoking or excessive alcohol intake, and bone density testing and medications for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis when appropriate.

Although osteoporosis is not age-restricted, age is still a major risk factor, especially for those over 65. Heightened risk characteristics also include: fair skin, small bone structure, early menopause or post-menopausal, family history of osteoporosis, low body weight, low-calcium diet, inactive lifestyle, excessive alcohol intake, tobacco use, eating disorders, and use of certain medications such as steroids or anticonvulsants.

A bone density test provides important information about the bone strength and the risk of future fracture. The bone densitometer uses small amounts of X-ray to measure the amount of bone mineral and this relates directly to bone strength.

World Osteoporosis Day in Dubai is attracting significant support from leading organisations.


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