Hamad Medical Corporation
In recognition of World Osteoporosis Day (WOD), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is raising awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis throughout this week.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to fracture, particularly the hip, spine, and wrist. Broken bones due to osteoporosis is a serious concern which affects more than 200 million people worldwide.
“Osteoporosis is under-diagnosed because it is a silent, symptomless disease that usually only gets diagnosed once a patient sustains a fracture. The problem is, once an older patient suffers from a fracture, particularly of the hip and spine, this can lead to a cycle of additional fractures resulting in chronic pain, long term disability and even death,” said Dr. Izzat Khanjar, Senior Consultant in HMC’s Rheumatology Division.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
“Without early diagnosis and treatment, patients may face a future of severely reduced quality of life, loss of physical independence and premature death,” added Dr. Khanjar.
As part of WOD’s awareness campaign entitled: ‘Love Your Bones: Protect Your Future,’ over 400 HMC and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) physicians from different specialties will take part in a series of symposiums run by HMC’s Rheumatology Division at the Medicine Department. The symposium will educate clinicians about the burden of osteoporosis, when to screen for it and when to refer patients to a rheumatologist for treatment. Participants will also learn more about preventive measures so they can better educate their patients.
“Osteoporosis is not an unavoidable threat. Although it can be accelerated by various factors such as family history, there are steps everyone can take to prevent and fight this disease,” says Dr. Nabeel Abdulla, Consultant, Rheumatology Division, HMC.
“We want the public to understand that they are able to protect bone and muscle health at all ages by making simple lifestyle changes. This includes increasing exposure to sunlight, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, performing regular weight bearing exercises and eating a well-balanced diet which includes milk, cheese and fish.”
Dr. Nabeel continued: “Ninety percent of hip fractures occur as a result of a fall. Poor eye sight, loss of balance, poor muscle strength, use of sleeping pills (all relatively common in seniors), are important factors that significantly increase the risk of falls and fractures. People should therefore take action by fall-proofing their home and improving muscle strength and balance through targeted exercises.”
Dr. Nabeel recommends that all women above the age of 65 and all men above 70 are screened for osteoporosis by their PHCC physician. He also recommends screening for younger patients who are at a high risk of suffering from a fracture as a result of usingcertain medications such as steroids, have parents with a hip fracture or a personal history of bone fragility fracture, a fracture occurring spontaneously or following a minor trauma.
“Prevention of osteoporosis through screening and early detection can help protect your bone health and strong bones and muscles will keep people active and mobile, so they can enjoy independence and a good quality of life during old age,” he concluded.
Members of the public who want more information about osteoporosis can visit Hamad General Hospital from 16 to 20 October to collect patient education materials and ask any questions they may have about the disease.