Bone and joint clinics, alternative wellness clinics, pain relief rehabilitation centers and physiotherapy centers dominate our streets in every city. If you were to imagine old people occupying all of these places then you are absolutely mistaken. A throng of youngsters are seen in all of these centers and this sight is absolutely heart wrecking to watch. Why don’t we stop blaming the nature of work or the IT industry for every little health mishap of ours and think deeper?
Osteoporosis that’s characterized by extremely low bone mineral density (BMD) is a common health condition that affects one in every four women and one in every twenty men. Bones reach their peak bone mass up to only the age of 30 after which the bone mass starts to deteriorate gradually irrespective of what you eat or do. So, what can you do by the age of 30 to keep your bone mass as intact as possible in terms of food, activity and more? Look into www.firsteatright.com for it. Let’s think of bones as our bank accounts in which we do deposits and withdrawals. Up to the age of 30 we make deposits and from thereon it is mostly withdrawals that follow. Women don’t experience much change in their bone bank account between 30 years and menopause. After menopause, there are heavy withdrawals that happen persistently through the bone bank account that increases the risk of osteoporosis in any woman. The bone density loss following menopause exists as a primary risk factor for osteoporosis striking every 4th woman living in this planet.
Age brings about a definite change in the bone tissue composition making it more porous thereby increasing the risk of bone fractures. There have been studies previously that linked BDM to certain genetic factors. These brought about the notion that when you have osteoporosis run in the family it keeps you at an even greater risk for the same. The different researches came up with the fact that there might be hundreds of genes that might be involved in the process each of it either increasing or decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. But apart from your genes there are equally important factors such as your behavior, exercise frequency, type of activity and food habits that play an integral role in bone health. So, when a group of researchers came across these studies that supported the role of genes in affecting osteoporosis, they were interested to know the set of genes responsible for it. For this the group sifted through hundreds of thousands of people’s genomes.
The research team analyzed around 400,000 British participant and identified 518 BMD-related regions of the genome and of them, 301 were already known. Next, they analyzed genes from the UK Biobank for fracture risk. The data showed that 20,122 evidences of fracture while the participants reported more than 48,000 fractures. The research team found out 14 different genetic variations associated with fracture.
To pin-point specific genes that induce osteoporosis the researchers identified 126 target genes of which the gene called DAAM2 seemed to attract more attention owing to its importance. Five other major genes named CBX1, WAC, DSCC1, RGCC and YWHAE were also given much importance.
Sorting out all the genes and picking the most-important ones was a tedious but much-needed process to help mankind go a step further towards drug development. These genetic changes that have a strong effect on BMD helps us with drug targets that act against attack of osteoporosis.
The research provides clues to developing methods for assessing a person’s risk for weaker bones. These could also help an individual with choosing much better lifestyle choices, diet changes and physical activity routines thereby minimizing the risk of bone fracture.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.