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Shun Milk At Your Own Peril!

On the eve of the 13th annual conference of Indian Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ISBMR), senior endocrinologists at the PGI have emphasised that consumption of milk in any form is critical to ensuring good bone health among the young as well as the elderly. In a pre-conference media interaction, Dr Anil Bhansali, prof. and head department of Endocrinology, and his senior colleagues from the department said intake of at least half a litre of milk (one litre ideally) in any form – liquid milk, curd, paneer or lassi – is absolutely necessary for optimal bone health. People shunning milk are doing so at their own peril, they cautioned.

Dr Bhansali informed that milk is the best source of calcium, and the only source for lacto vegetarians. In the formative years, till middle ages, calcium is essential for building up bone mass and in the later life for maintaining the bone mass. Rapid loss of bone mass leads to weakening of the bones and can result in osteoporosis, a silent killer, the patients of which remain asymptomatic for most part. Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men especially in the post menopausal stage. “Therefore we recommend that post menopausal all women must get themselves screened for the diseases. A simple Dexa scan is the gold standard for screening of osteoporosis, though X-ray, CT scan and MRI are also means for screening of the disease,” he added.

Shun Milk At Your Own Peril!, Lifeinchd
rnPhoto By: Life in Chandigarh

Emphasising that bone disorders are not the domain of orthopaedicians alone, but also of endocrinologists, as metabolic bone disease is the third most common endocrine disorder after diabetes and thyroid diseases, he said Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis are most common bone disorders and they are on the rise with increasing longevity. Uncontrolled diabetes itself is a risk factor for poor bone health and fracture. Therefore, adequate sun exposure (30 minutes exposure on 20 percent bare body, including hands and arm, feet and legs and face between 9 am and 3 pm when UV rays are at their maximum), optimal amount of calcium and vitamin D intake, appropriate consumption of dairy products, regular weight bearing exercises like walking, cessation of alcohol and smoking and avoidance of drugs, like steroids, which result in osteoporosis,  are some tested measures to maintain good bone health, he added.
rnDr Bhansali informed that it has been seen that increased engagement with the doctor has resulted in enhanced life span of diabetic patients. “Those diabetic patients who visit us at PGI three to four times a year are living up to 80 years and beyond because in getting themselves examined regularly other ailments also get detected and treated.”
rnWith better treatments even victims of hip fractures, especially among the elderly, now have a better chance of survival. Quoting a yet to be published PGI study undertaken in tricity hospitals during the early part of this decade, additional prof. in the department, Dr Sanjay Kumar Bhadada said out of 264 patients of hip fracture in the average age of 55 years, as many as 20 percent died within the first year because of various factors like cardio vascular disease and anaemia caused by lack of activity. Of the remaining, 65 percent became totally dependent on others and 30 percent near dependent on others, he added.
rnDr Bhadada said, surprisingly, 80 percent of all patients included in the study received the fractures at home, most of them while moving between the bedroom and the washroom. This speaks volumes about the brittleness of their bones, he said.
rnAn estimated 300 delegates from around the country are expected to participate in the conference to be held from November 10-12. There will be two workshops during the conference – one on bone biomechanics by faculty from IIT Ropar and second on metabolic bone disease by field experts.
rnAmong others present were Dr. Pinaki Dutta, additional prof., and Dr. Rama Walia and Dr. Ashu Rastogi, both assistant profs.

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