Abu Dhabi: Around 30 per cent of women in the UAE suffer from the common bone disease osteoporosis, said Dr Shivanand Shetty, an orthopedic surgeon at the New Medical Centre.

The age of onset is around 50-years-old. Osteoporosis is a major risk factor for fracture. Dr Shetty spoke to Gulf News regarding reasons behind developing osteoporosis. Risk factors that enhance osteoporosis include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of calcium in one's diet and lack of exercise.

However, osteoporosis can be avoided at an earlier stage, said Dr Shetty. Until the age of 30 there is constant turnover of the bone in the skeletal system. Bone formation and resorption takes place at an equal rate.


Peak bone mass (adequate deposit of calcium in the bone) is reached by the age of 30. To achieve peak bone mass one needs a diet adequate in calcium, vitamin D and good exercise during the early phases of life. Osteoporosis runs in families; having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts a person at greater risk.

"I advise patients to drink a lot of milk and consume dairy products as well as green vegetables. One whose diet is not adequate in calcium requires calcium supplements and regular exercise," said Dr Shetty.

One of Dr Shetty's patients, Shahnaz Ihsan, a housewife, aged 56, spoke to us regarding her experience with osteoporosis.

"Exactly three years ago I started to feel immense pain in my back, my bones were cracking and I visited the doctor who prescribed medicine .. and now feel so much better," she said.

Ihsan advised other woman to seek medical help if they start to suffer menopausal symptoms.