National Bone And Joint Day: Steer Clear Of Alcohol To Protect Your Bones After Recovery From Covid-19
National Bones and Joint Day is observed on 4 August every year. It creates awareness about the need to keep bones healthy. Amid covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial to pay attention to bone health. Read here to know more about covid and bone health.
Bones and Joint Day: 'Prevention of deformity in degenerative disease' is the theme for the year 2021
- National Bones and Joint day is observed on 4 August
- This day informs about the importance of keeping bones healthy
- 'Prevention of deformity in degenerative disease' is the theme for 2021
Health and fitness have become a top priority, like never-before, for everyone now. The covid pandemic has brought to fore the importance of health the hard way. Recent reports on increasing instances of avascular necrosis (AVN) among covid-recovered patients has got many worried for themselves and their loved ones.
AVN that is bone death, especially in the hip, is a condition where disrupted blood supply to the bone tissue, causing the femur head of the hip to fracture or collapse. More common amongst men than women, those in the age group of 25-60 are usually prone to the condition. Its symptoms include mild and constant pain in the groin and buttock area as pressure is exerted on the hips; stiffness and inflammation around the hip joint; as the condition progresses, it can get excruciatingly painful to use the hip joint which affects the quality of life.
Several studies have found that excessive steroid intake may lead to necrosis or death of the bone tissue. While AVN has been prevalent in the pre-covid era as well, there has been increased interest around the condition recently due to it being considered as one of the post-covid complications. The surge in AVN cases is concerning, however one needs to understand that steroids taken in limited quantity aren't harmful. Steroids should be used judiciously. It should be noted that steroid abuse can have various side effects with reduced blood supply to the joints and weight gain being the most prominent ones. Therefore it is essential to take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Excessive alcohol consumption can shrink the veins that circulate blood to the bone tissue, causing AVN which can eventually lead to joint deterioration and destruction.
Indulgence in alcohol, smoking, processed junk food, staying indoors with little physical exercise puts the young at the risk of painful hip conditions. Covid-recovered patients should include regular walks and exercise in their regime to keep their joints healthy.
In its early stages of AVN, the goal is to slow the progression of the bone damage therefore anti-inflammatory and pain meds are prescribed to relieve pain and improve joint functioning. At times, the doctor might suggest core decompression, where a surgeon drills one or more holes to core of the bone to ease joint pressure and makes way for new blood vessels. Sometimes an osteotomy, where dead bones are removed and remaining healthy bone is re-shaped, may be recommended to improve joint support.
But in chronic AVN cases, when the pain becomes unbearable and the patient's quality of life is severely impacted, a hip replacement surgery might be the most viable option. During the surgery, the damaged joint is removed and replaced with artificial prosthesis to restore mobility.
An informed mind is any day better than an ignorant one. It is of utmost importance to be aware of one's body and ailments one is suffering from, but it is equally important to know extensively about the treatment options and prevention techniques of the disease. Timely intervention in any disease can help in leading a healthy life. Therefore, avoid excess consumption of alcohol consult your doctor about the symptom to keep AVN risk at bay.
(Dr. Narayan Hulse is a Director - Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement Surgery Department at Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru)
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