Countries worldwide celebrate important events by assigning a specific day. On the global level, we have several important ones such as the ‘World Health Day’ and ‘World Breastfeeding Day.’ In India, the Indian Orthopedic Association (IOA) celebrates Bone & Joint day on Aug 4th every year since the year 2012. Fitting the occasion is the slogan, ‘Stronger Bones, Stronger India’ which imparts the critical message to people nation-wide that healthy bones are the foundation of a healthy society and hence, a strong nation.
Most problems start with bones and joints as we age. First comes the knee problem, then the back problem and so on. Even youngsters, as young as 25- or 26-year-olds are victims to knee and joint problems due to rise in obesity rates (greater the weight, greater the pressure on knees and sooner do the knees give off!) and lack of Vitamin D levels (Sun, the primary source of this vitamin has become the enemy for many! Individuals either cover themselves from head to toe while going out in the sun, turn on the air conditioner at home, work or travel or never step out of their house and order things from A to Z online). Hence, Bone & Joint Day is not a day just for celebrations and advertisements but a great platform to educate and sensitize the society about the dangerous effects of musculoskeletal conditions and promote/provide efficient and cost-effective prevention and treatment solutions.
According to the Indian Journal of Orthopedics, despite more than 60 years history of orthopedics in our country, we are not ready-enough to define optimum and current state of bone health nationwide. There are hundreds of bone-and-joint clinics everywhere, almost some person in every household suffers from some kind of an orthopedic problem and people have become less-tolerant towards pain and diseases, yet there are no ideal factors identified for poor bone health and state/national-level strategies taken to improve the bone health of our nation. Apart from pain and agony, impaired bone health affects work and performance capability and stresses the mind reminding us of tremendous musculoskeletal disease burden in the latter years of a youngster’s life due to weak bones. Keeping these things in mind, individuals too should take care and precaution, fulfill nutrient requirements and stay active to safeguard themselves from the clutches of weak bones and pained joints!
A Brief Insight into Bones & Joints Pain
Bone pain includes extreme tenderness, aching or discomfort in one or more bones and differs from muscles or joint pain in that, it is constantly present irrespective of whether or not you’re moving. Injury, metastatic cancer, bone cancer, infections and leukemia might contribute to bone pain but the No.1 reason due to which innumerable people across India suffer from bone pain is due to mineral deficiency. For strong bones, one requires vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D in balanced quantities. But, ironically these are two of the most deficient nutrients present in our bodies. Time and again physicians, nutritionists and dietitians have stressed upon including dairy products, leafy greens, beans, lentils, sardines, salmons, almonds and seeds in our diets in balanced proportions to equip our body with calcium. Also, they insist on pursuing weight-bearing exercises such as walking, tennis and dancing to strengthen bone mass and get some vitamin D too. The early-morning sun is good for your body and there is no doubt about it, but the best time to get enough vitamin D levels quickly is around midday when the sun is shining at its peak. But, what we do? Sit comfortably inside our offices, homes or shops and avoid the sunrays! Complete information on calcium and vitamin D including the foods that are great sources of these nutrients are available in the website www.firsteatright.com.
A joint is where two or more bones come together, like the knee, hip, elbow or shoulder. Arthritis is a joint problem that affects almost any part of the body, specifically targeting the joints and tendons resulting in pain, stiffness and inflammation. Almost 15% people in our country suffer from arthritis that can leave a person with debilitating side effects and affect the person’s quality of life.
Teenage years are when 40-60% of peak bone mass is built. It is the duty of every parent, teacher and the teenager to ensure that these adolescents get enough physical exercise, drink adequate milk, eat plenty of fruits and veggies and eat foods rich in calcium to promote bone formation. Avoid all kinds of soda and cola drinks that tend to contain high quantities of phosphorus that can interfere with the skeleton’s ability to absorb calcium and cause damage. It is only up to the age of 30 that bone mass keeps increasing and in our 30th year the bones reach their maximum strength and density, known as peak bone mass. In women, there is minimum change in bone mass from the age of 30 up to menopause. After menopause, women tend to experience a rapid deterioration in bone mass and every woman must ensure to supplement this loss effectively through food, supplements and exercise.
Events & More…
The theme for this year’s day is ‘Road Safety’ and the IOA plans to arrange several road safety rallies, distribute pamphlets and posters on road safety to general public, arrange guest lectures in schools, forums and social organizations, free medical camps, free surgeries and basic life support course for paramedics, drivers, students and general public. This theme is the need of the hour as there are more than 5 lakh road injuries that happen in our country and the worst thing is that, most of these accidents are preventable. Out of the 5 lakh citizens injured, almost 1.5 lakh people die, some lose their limbs and some are permanently disabled to different degrees. All these campaigns and activities are organized from August 1st to August 7th to not only create awareness about various orthopedic diseases but also with an intention of being useful to the general public.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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