Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gulf Women Have Vitamin 'D' Deficiency- DUH!

It doesn't take a genius to figure out WHY Arab women in the Middle East have a deficiency in Vitamin D. Look at the photo! If they're not in their abayas then they're in really expensive, stylish designer outfits with arms, chest, hair (most of the time), & legs covered. But the article below doesn't mention that perhaps their dress code is the biggest reason for the cause. Look, I understand covering up is important to these women because they want to be very modest  (or because they have to obey the man in the family who makes them cover up). But what they need is sun exposure and it's not going to happen when they are completely covered up like that. 

Vitamin D Deficiency An ‘Epidemic’ In GulfOsteoporosis Risk Increasing: Kuwait Doctors
KUWAIT CITY, Oct 31: Kuwait doctors have warned that the lack of sufficient vitamin D intake is becoming a growing problem in the state and entire region, due to lack of exposure to sunlight, leading to an increased risk of the debilitating bone disease osteoporosis and associated bone fractures.

The warning was issued this week by doctors attending the “New Era in Treatment of Osteoporosis” Speaker Tour in Kuwait, where physicians gathered to listen to Professor Serge Ferrari, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Bone Diseases, Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland, a world expert in osteoporosis.

“The Middle East has the highest vitamin D deficiency worldwide, and this statistic is not decreasing at all and in fact we see younger people every day with severely low levels of the mineral. Younger patients have lower bone mineral density (BMD) levels compared to the standards, and fractures are occurring at a lower age than the equivalent in the Caucasian population,” said Nadia Al Ali, Head of Unit of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Amiri Hospital, Kuwait.

“Unfortunately the Gulf is synonymous now with bad lifestyle choices that increase the risk of contracting osteoporosis, such as lack of physical activity, bad diet, and reduced sun exposure due to the extremely hot summers,” she added.

Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50, higher than the incidence of breast cancer and prostate cancer respectively, with the rate of osteoporosis-related fractures almost doubling over the last decade. 

Statistics suggest an osteoporotic fracture occurs every three seconds, with one in three women and one in five men over 50 years old expected to be burdened with a fracture at some point.

“Once someone gets their first osteoporosis-related fracture, it doubles the risk for the second. Once a bone is fractured for the second time, it triples the risk for the third, and so on.  BMD tests are therefore crucial in the Middle East for people over 60, which is still younger than the international standards of 65 for women and 70 for men due to the increased risk factors here,” added Dr Al Ali, who is also a Clinical Member of the Committee for the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis, a committee under the umbrella of Kuwait’s Ministry of Health.

 The committee established the first Kuwait-specific guidelines for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and also made available all drugs licensed for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is the result of lack of exposure to the sun and poor dietary intake of foods containing the vitamin, such as fish and eggs. Vitamin D is essential for bone health as it assists in the absorption of calcium, without which the bones become less dense and fracture easily.

Many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture and undergo a Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scan to check their bone density.

Treating osteoporosis involves reducing bone resorption using bisphosphonate drugs, which are either taken weekly or monthly orally. However, a new medication, which is given via an infusion, only needs to be administered once a year, so helping to improve medication compliance.

Spending 10 minutes per day, exposing 40 percent of the body area such as the back, arms and legs to the sun as well as eating sufficient foods containing vitamin D, are both recommended actions for helping to maintain vitamin D levels within the normal range that prevents osteoporosis.

The “New Era in Treatment of Osteoporosis” Speaker Tour took place 24 October at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuwait City.

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