Soak up more sunshine, women!

Sunlight missing from the lives of busy young women is making them deficient in Vitamin D, which has emerged as a major health issue among them, experts say. Vitamin D deficiency in young girls can precipitate osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures. “Vitamin D is a major regulator of calcium metabolism and hence is an important determinant of bone health.

Despite abundant sunshine, Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in India,” Palash Gupta, senior consultant, Orthopaedics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, told us. Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone architecture leading to increased bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures. Primary osteoporosis refers to a reduction in bone mass related to aging and menopause, whereas secondary osteoporosis results from specific diseases or drugs.

Osteoporosis is also characterized by abnormality in the amount and architectural arrangement of bone tissue. Estimates suggest that 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men by would be osteoporotic by 2015. Palash Gupta said: “Judicious exposure of arms and legs or hands to sunlight, typically for not more than 5-15 minutes per day, for 2-3 times per week during spring and summer is all that is required to satisfy the body’s requirements.” Anoop Mishra, Chairperson of the Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, said: “It is one of the important health issues in women because of lack of exposure to sunshine due to clothes and lack of outdoor activity”. Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of bone loss (osteopenia and osteoporosis) which leads to fractures, he added.

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