RWE Lens on Osteoporosis in India: The battle to be won
We are all (sub) consciously worried about the older ones in our families getting fractures even through minor falls. But there is seldom any action to assess the risk and prevent these preventable fractures -
We are all (sub) consciously worried about the older ones in our families getting fractures even through minor falls. But there is seldom any action to assess the risk and prevent these preventable fractures – just because we are unaware about the existence and intensity of one of the widely prevalent silent diseases that without visible symptoms can lead to permanent damages – OSTEOPOROSIS.
THB (India’s leading clinical intelligence platform with a unified big data repository of more than 35mn Indian patients) conducted a real-world backed analysis on a sample of patients to assess the Osteoporosis epidemiology in Indian Women of different age groups -pre-menopausal (30-45 years), and post-menopausal (>45 years)to understand the degree of under-diagnosis and hence evaluate the extent of risk.
The findings were alarming- (Refer Fig 1)
1) Among post-menopausal women, only a minuscule proportion of women (0.2%, i.e. 1 in 500) monitor bone mineral density (that helps diagnose osteoporosis), highlighting the magnitude of under-diagnosis for bone health in this age-group. Among those who monitor, 65% are found to have osteoporosis or osteopenia.
2) Even among pre-menopausal women, more than 21% of those who monitor have osteopenia, which if uncorrected puts them at a higher risk of progressing to osteoporosis as the age increases and menopause sets in.
Low Calcium intake with an extensive prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency, early menopause and poor knowledge of bone health, etc. have contributed towards the high prevalence of osteoporosis. According to the International Journal of Bone Health – India falls far below the WHO recommendations of daily calcium intake, highlighting the magnitude of unawareness for bone health in a population of all age groups.
These RWE findings above state how there is a significant deficit in the awareness level of Indian women regarding bone health and osteoporosis. “Lack of awareness leads to a lack of means to prevent it. The magnitude of the problem, ranging from lack of importance of bone health supplements (lower odds ratio of vitamin / mineral replacement) to lack of importance of early diagnosis –has left us a lot of ground to cover before winning the battle”, says Mr. Akansh Khurana, CEO, THB.
A study from International Women Health Research, 2015 says that of the 230 million Indians over the age of 50 years, 20% (approximately 46 million), were women with Osteoporosis. And so Mr. Khurana stresses on the fact that if only we could all work towards diagnosing more women mainly in their post-menopausal age group, we’d find those with a higher risk of bone fractures, and prevent them in time through appropriate care. The entire market here is completely nascent, and there is serious work to be done to shape this category and improve patient care.