Bengaluru: City doctors say they see more women with complaints related to bones than men. And now a study by the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) reveals that women over 50 are at higher risk than men of suffering from osteoporosis or weakening of the bones, leading to hip fractures and the like.
In fact, going by researchers, nearly 80 per cent of osteoporosis cases are found among women and every one woman out of two over 50 is at risk of being diagnosed with osteoporosis. In comparison only 20% of the men are at risk of developing it.
Dr Manjunath Mallige, consultant-endocrinologist at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, explains that women are more vulnerable to osteoporosis as they have thinner bones than men. The other factor that causes osteoporosis in women is menopause, he says. “Bone loss accelerates in women immediately after menopause, which is one of the main reasons for higher cases of osteoporosis among them. Once women enter menopause their oestrogen level falls, weakening their bone density and making them prone to fractures, especially in the hip area,” he adds.
Dr. Bala Murali Krishnan, senior consultant, orthopedics at Columbia Asia Hospital, Sarjapur Road says that during the first five to ten years following menopause, women can lose up to 20% of their bone density. “This is predominantly attributed to insufficient oestrogen and also low intake of calcium during their lifetime. The accelerated bone loss after menopause is a major cause of osteoporosis in women, referred to as postmenopausal osteoporosis,” he adds.
Dr Anand Chavan, consultant orthopaedic surgeon from the city, says as women are also generally less active than men, their bones are comparatively weaker. “Other factors like smoking, drinking, poor dietary habits, and calcium and vitamin deficiency are also linked to osteoporosis,” he notes.
Experts suggest that regular exercise, greater intake of water and a healthy diet with adequate consumption of vitamin D and calcium rich food like eggs, green vegetables, cereals, and orange juice can improve the calcium content in one’s body and also help increase bone density.