Tuesday, 16 October 2018 | News today: 0

Prof. Dr. Snezana Markovic: Young women increasingly obtain vertebral fractures after childbirth

The Macedonian nation is aging, and thus the number of cases of osteoporosis is increasing. Children spend less time on physical activities, they sit in front of a computer all the time, increasingly have weight problems, eat too much salty fast food. Their diet is rich in sweets, but not with cheese, milk, yogurt … and thus they have risk of developing osteoporosis in later years. That’s why the experts are urging people to eat healthy and balanced food rich in calcium, vitamin D, more physical activities and exercise, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes. If that is not prevented now, especially among young people, then it is very likely that after the fiftieth year these children will be diagnosed with this insidious disease. Osteoporosis is a bone-thinning disease and increases the risk of breaking a bone. This disease often affects women over fifty, but there are also cases were the male population is affected. What is new is that in recent times we have young women, who easily obtain vertebral fractures after childbirth, said Prof. Dr. Snezana Markovic-Temelkova, endocrinologist and President of the Macedonian Osteoporosis Association, in an interview with “Republika”.

One in three women and one in five men over 50 have osteoporosis. Are regular programs for detection of the disease conducted here in our country?

MARKOVIC-TEMELKOVA: There is osteoporosis screening in Macedonia that is mainly conducted by the Macedonian Osteoporosis Association by going on the ground in rural areas, where we conduct screens of the risk of developing osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. Some private clinics have osteoporosis screening devices. The risk factors for developing osteoporosis depend on gender, age, rheumatism, smoking cigarettes, fractures over forty, corticotherapy, which is often given in pulmonology in cases of asthma and allergies, then the treatment given by the cardiology colleagues for arrhythmia. All these are the things that lead to the risk of osteoporosis. According to international statistics, here in Macedonia there may be about a hundred thousand people that suffer from this disease. We have been working for 15 years and people know what osteoporosis is. Earlier nothing was said about this silent thief of our bones, a disease that has no symptoms until the first fracture occurs.

dr Snezana markovic 2 (Custom)

How old is the youngest patient that suffers from this disease?

MARKOVIC-TEMELKOVA: The device we have, the densitometer , which was the first such device in public health at the Endocrinology Clinic, currently has the largest database in the Balkans. In our database we have about 28 thousand patients examined. But, unfortunately, our device is not sophisticated to be able to examine children as well. It examines only people over 18, so I cannot say how old is the youngest patient with osteoporosis. But what is new is that in recent times we have young women, who easily obtain vertebral fractures after childbirth. So, while the baby is in the stomach, it is very selfish and eats whatever it needs. In the fifth, sixth month of pregnancy the need for iron, calcium, vitamin D increases. Then it starts to take calcium from the mother. So, women over the fifth month of pregnancy must take more calcium and vitamin D, to use supplementary therapy, i.e. to take more calcium and vitamin D in any form because there is a risk of fractures. There are young mothers with two or three broken vertebrae after childbirth. The vertebrae are so “eaten up” that women have to wear corsets and breastfeed children as well. So emphasis should be put on this and women after the fifth month of pregnancy, if not sooner, should get supplementary therapy of about one gram of calcium and 800 IU vitamin D daily.

dr Snezana markovic 3 (Custom)

Are Macedonians aware of going for osteoporosis checkups?

MARKOVIC-TEMELKOVA: In contrast to 15 years ago, now there is more awareness of going for checkups.. Unfortunately, patients come to us when they feel pain in the bones or in the muscles. The pain is no sign of osteoporosis, but the onset of degenerative bone changes like bone spurs, coxarthrosis. When someone has pains in any joint, they are somehow saving. It’s a sort of joint immobilization and that is osteoporosis. So, by not spending time on physical activities we indirectly make osteoporosis. Thousands, millions of cells every moment are breaking down and building up. A bone is a living tissue that is constantly breaking down and building up to the thirtieth year of age. The peak is reached between the thirtieth and the fiftieth year, when the breaking is equal to the building, while over the fiftieth year, the bone breaks down more than it builds up.


By: Aleksandra M. Bundalevska

Photo credit: Aleksandar Ivanovski