Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bone mass is lowered, resulting in weak bones that are prone to fractures. This condition is often associated with people over 50 years of age, especially in women post menopause. The propensity for people with osteoporosis to fracture their bones is alarmingly high, with estimates stating that every 3 seconds there is an osteoporotic fracture that occurs across the world.
There are no symptoms associated with the condition until there is a fracture, which is a painful indicator of poor bone health. The brittleness of the bone and the higher chance of fracture forces older people to remain in their homes, worrying about possible falls that could lead to a fracture. This is a significant psychological symptom associated with the condition.
Children with osteoporosis also exhibit poor bone health which not only increases their risk for fractures but could also stunt their growth.
This World Osteoporosis Day 2016, there is a need to explore causes for this condition in order to provide effective solutions. The theme for this year’s World osteoporosis Day 2016 is “Love your bones, Protect your future”
Gluten intolerance is a condition in which the body is unable to metabolize gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye. The condition is caused due to a mutation in the gene HLA DQ and it leads to a range of gastrointestinal symptoms that include nausea, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramps and pain. There are certain other extra-intestinal symptoms associated with gluten intolerance that include depression, inability to focus, foggy mind and – possibly osteoporosis. In a gluten intolerant individual, the body is unable to digest the gluten in the diet and this triggers an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune cells attack the lining of the small intestine, where important nutrients like calcium are absorbed. This leads to malabsorption and the resultant lowering of bone density and osteoporosis.
Studies have shown that eating a gluten free diet will aid in regaining bone mass, both in children as well as in adults. The tricky part is to identify the condition before it leads to considerable loss in bone density or a fracture.
In a study on school children in Ludhiana, 6 children were identified to have gluten intolerance and none of them showed any other symptom, including gastro intestinal, except stunted growth.
It is difficult to assess intolerance in children based on symptoms as they rarely understand the enormity of the situation and will fail to acknowledge it. The process of eliminating specific food from the diet is also difficult as it can take many months before there is a clear association that is found. Instead gene testing affords a quick and cost-effective solution that detects the mutation in the HLA DQ gene, allowing dietary modification that will limit the risk of osteoporosis.
This World Osteoporosis day, get tested for gluten intolerance and safeguard bone health.