Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ms. Khadijah conducting the bone density test at the free check-up organized by students of the Department of Biotechnology. Photo by Zainab Das

Superheroes have bones that never break or weaken, however it is another thing for mere mortals like us. A silent villain is wreaking havoc among us – Osteoporosis. Osta… what? Yes, not obesity, not diabetes but something that cracks your brittle bones from within.

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones in the body become fragile and are more prone to fractures and other serious damage. As people age, the more their bones weaken, which means they need to take extra care of themselves. This condition is a cause of concern for women more than men, especially when they reach the age of 35 – 40 years.

Its intensity is measured on the basis of bone mineral density (BMD). According to the WHO (World Health Organization) criteria, osteoporosis is defined as a BMD that lie 2.5 standard deviations or more below the average value for young healthy women. Osteoporosis is not only a major cause of fractures, it also ranks high among diseases that cause people to become bedridden with serious complications.
The size of a person also can be a reason. Thin people are more prone to getting osteoporosis than those who do not have a thin physique. The most popular cause of osteoporosis though is, because of genetics. People having a family history of osteoporosis are at a greater risk of obtaining the illness.

This is different from other diseases because, it does not have only one single cause, but there are multiple causes. Some of the contributing factors for its cause are lifestyle, eating habits, and decline in calcium intake. 

Mr. Ravichandran, Library Technical Assistant checking his bone density on the Bone Scan Machine. Photo by Zainab Das
In a bid to increase awareness amongst university students, the Department of Biotechnology, Manipal University Dubai organized a free check-up to check for Osteoporosis using a bone scan machine. 

Ms. Khadijah a consultant at ‘Anlene’ (a firm producing dairy products for adults) said “It comes to me as a great surprise that majority of youngsters today have started developing this problem. This is mainly due to the lifestyle habits of youngsters today and not eating the right kind of food. To prevent this, parents have to help out to a great extent to make sure their child is risk free from such critical health issues.”She also talked about the importance of including dairy products in one’s diet. “Women need to take a lot of care of their health as they are more prone to this than men. The main medication for this is indulging into outdoor activities and eating a lot of dairy products rich in calcium.”

The Bone Scan Machine in use at the "Health Fair 2011" organized by the Department of Biotechnology. Photo by Zainab Das
Mrs. Susan Ninan, a lecturer at Manipal University, Dubai says, “This is a very noble effort undertaken by the organizers to highlight this serious issue. There are many I’m sure who do not know about this disease but they will come to know about it now.” 

The Osteoporosis check-up is only one of the many free health related checkups organized at the “Health Fair 2011” by the Department of Biotechnology at Manipal University, Dubai.

Report By: Zainab Das.