The 2012 Arab Health Conference will be a good opportunity for international experts to share learnings in Middle East Orthopedics. Reports from the American University of Beirut Medical Centre have concluded that the Middle East and Africa region have the highest incidence of osteoporosis in the world while UAE-based studies from the Emirates Osteoporosis Society (EOS) across Emiratis and expatriates show that one-third of people in the UAE over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis.

The society’s findings also conclude that 78% of the UAE population, notably Emirati women, suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, which is essential for good bone health, despite the abundance of sunshine.

The society confirms that lack of the essential vitamin in this part of the world can be the result of limited sun exposure due to local cultural practices and the high outdoor temperatures, conservative clothing, urbanization, darker skin pigmentation, smoking, obesity, diet and prolonged breast feeding without supplements, high caffeine and carbonated consumption, as well as a lack of vitamin D fortification in common foods.

The subject will be explored further at the eighth Middle East Orthopedics Conference taking place at Arab Health Exhibition & Congress from 23rd- 26th January 2012 in Dubai. The conference will also address issues around orthopedics in the neonate, adolescent, senior patient, back patient and athlete as well as innovations and other topics pertinent to the region. Mario Skugor, M.D., Co-Director, Endocrinology and Reproductive Organ Block, Cleveland Clinic

Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University will host a session on The Role of Vitamin D in Bone Health at the conference. Commenting on the issue he said, “Vitamin D deficiency is a critical concern in the Middle East and the prevalence of osteoporosis in the UAE and across the region demonstrates a clear need for change.

In highlighting the issue during the conference, we aim to improve both awareness and education and highlight the disease as a national health priority alongside obesity and diabetes.”

Women in the UAE’s extreme lack of exposure to sunlight means that vitamin D deficiency could reach startling levels with serious consequences in the near future, “Education is a critical first step in addressing the problem.” – Simon Page Managing Director Life Sciences Informa Exhibitions

“The Middle East Orthopedics Conference provides a strong platform for delivery of the message across healthcare professionals from all over the region while supporting the work and findings of the International Osteoporosis Foundation,” Page explained.

Recommendations from the International Osteoporosis Foundation suggest bone health can be improved through the intake of vitamin D, regular and safe exposure to sunlight, a calcium and protein-rich diet and supplements where necessary, and daily weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise.

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