(2008), "Middle East - UAE residents need to get out in the sun more", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 21 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2008.06221cab.005
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Middle East - UAE residents need to get out in the sun more
Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 21, Issue 3.
Keywords: Public health, Quality of life, Healthcare promotion
The last phase of the Bone Screening Campaign for osteoporosis took place at Al Ittihad Primary Care Centre in Jumeirah in which 110 women and men were screened, and the overall results of the campaign so far confirmed doctor’s fears. People are not eating the correct diet to build bone mass nor getting adequate sun with Vitamin D and are therefore leaving themselves more prone to osteoporosis and other bone conditions later in life.
The recent initiative by Dubai Bone and Joint Centre to conduct mass screening in the Emirates with the Ministry of Health (MoH) has produced some alarming statistics. Of those screened on Bone Health Day in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, 36 per cent had low bone density or osteopenia, which is generally considered the first step along the road to osteoporosis. This is a very serious condition in which bone density is extremely low and bones are porous and prone to shatter. A further 20 per cent of those screened had a measurement of less than −2.5 indicating osteoporosis. This disease results in a significant risk of fracture, the consequences of which can include hospitalization, immobility, and a decrease in the quality of life.
The most alarming statistic was that 32 per cent of men at the recent Hor Al Anz screening had low bone density. The key findings of the most recent screening showed that 36 per cent of post-menopausal women were osteopenic and 6 per cent osteoporotic; and amongst young women (< 45 years) 16 per cent have low bone mass of which 5 per cent had osteoporosis.
By measuring bone density, it is possible to predict fracture risk in the same manner that measuring blood pressure can help predict the risk of stroke. The results from the screening can then be used to aid a decision as to whether prescription medicine is needed to help reduce the risk of fractures in the future. From a larger perspective, it can be seen that osteoporosis is a costly disease in terms of the healthcare system and time lost from work.
According to Dr Humeira Badsha, Specialist Rheumatologist at Dubai Bone and Joint Center, “these results are extremely worrying. We saw a woman of 24 who had osteopenia, which is very unusual. It is imperative that UAE residents, both men and women start consuming more calcium rich food and exposing themselves to the sun for a short period of time every day”.
The second phase of the nationwide osteoporosis screening will reassume in September 2007. The National Screening Campaign will include the rest of the Northern Emirates Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujarah, etc. Exact dates and locations will be announced in mid-August. Dr Mariam Matar, Assistant Undersecretary of Preventative Medicine for Public Health and Primary Health Care at the MoH recently announced at the launch of Bone Health Week, the seriousness of this condition and how the MoH is attempting to tackle this problem.
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