The Ministry of Health has devised a plan for the control, prevention and treatment of Osteoporosis, announced Afshin Ostovar, the ministry’s director for non-communicable diseases.
According to Ostovar, in Iran, 17 percent of adults have osteoporosis but it is more prevalent in women as 1 in every 2 women and 1 in every 5 men over the age of 50 are suffering from the disease, ISNA reported on November 4.
The aim of the ministry’s plan to prevent osteoporosis, he said, is firstly, to prevent the disease by raising awareness about its causes, and secondly, to identify and treat the disease more quickly so that the future fractions are prevented.
For raising awareness, he said, new campaigns and groups are created by universities of medical sciences across the country.
“We want health centers to educate people on osteoporosis causes and risk factors so that they can revise their lifestyle, if necessary,” he said.
“Secondly, we want them to closely analyze the patients who come to them and consider the possibility of osteoporosis, so that they are quickly referred to a specialist if osteoporosis symptoms are detected in them.”
“In more than 80 percent of patients, the fractures are healed but their osteoporosis is not cured and they are exposed to more fractures; the Health Ministry intends to cure the disease itself so the future fractures are prevented,” he noted.
The high cost of osteoporosis
According to Ostovar, the plan also involves providing people with greater access to services and facilities for detection and treatment of osteoporosis; however, the equipment could be expensive.
“The bone densitometer which is the primary machine used for detection of osteoporosis is expensive and not available in all care centers, but we are trying to increase their number,” he said.
However, these expanses are justified, he added, as osteoporosis incurs high costs for both the individuals and the society and the patients usually have to undergo surgery and treat several fractures.
“The hip fracture is particularly dangerous as it leads to death in 20 percent of cases. Its death rate is even higher than some cancers. Also, 80 percent of the people who go through this fracture never regain their previous movement ability and quality of life,” he said.
Osteoporosis reduces density and quality of bones, so the risk of fracture is greatly increased. The loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. Often there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds.