All fibre and no play can make your bones hollow
By Daniel Thimmayya - CHENNAI
20th October 2012 11:28 AM
There’s most likely no doctor on the planet who would frown at you for eating too much fibre. Then again not every doctor is an orthopaedician, and they’re certainly not Dr Isaac Newton Rajkumar. As the medical fraternity across the globe observeWorld Osteoporosis Day today, the venerable orthopaedician says that if you’d like to keep osteoporosis at bay, then you might want to watch the amount of fibre you eat. “Fibre (vegetables) is beneficial for the body in many ways, but it is proven that people who eat too much of it tend to eat little or no protein (chicken, fish). And this can make you a prime candidate for osteoporosis,” he says.
If you’re still digesting that, here’s another tough fact to swallow: if you’re susceptible to having weakened bones (osteoporosis) then being obese is good for you, “You see, androgen hormone acts on the fat cells in the adipose tissue stimulating factors that ultimately lead to a person becoming obese. As a person’s body density (BMI) increases, so will his or her bone density,” reveals Dr Newton.
Though people consider osteoporosis as a disease of the aged, Dr D M Ismail, Head of Orthopaedics Madras Medical College says that the age of onset is much lower for Indians. “In the West, people notice it between the ages of 60-80, but for Indians it onsets as young as 40-60 years,” he says.
Like most other things, detection (and early detection at that), is what is lacking in the country. “There is a bone densitometry scan (DEXA scan) that can easily detect whether a person’s bones are growing brittle or losing mass, but very few people opt to take them until they have a fracture,” rues Dr A R Kesavan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Global Health City. And these days, with orthos pushing for mass screenings to catch osteoporosis early, even an ultrasound scan of the heel bone can be used to detect its signs.
Dr Newton advises caution here: all these scans are used to detect only bone mineral density and not bone mass, making them ‘surrogate tests’. “On an individual basis, doctors need to identify that a person might be developing osteoporosis and should be able to diagnose and treat immediately,” he says.
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