Increasing use of alcohol and steroid-based food supplements is exposing India’s youth to avascular necrosis(AVN) – the death of bone tissue due to lack of supply – and consequent hip replacement surgeries, experts say. AVN is responsible for almost 50 percent of hip replacement surgeries, a trend that is on the rise among India’s young population, said Rakesh Rajput, senior orthopaedic surgeon at Kolkata’s Fortis Hospital, told IANS. 

“Till few years ago, AVN was seen amongst people with certain medical conditions such as cancer, sickle-cell anemia and Gaucher’s disease. But changing lifestyles are making young Indians vulnerable to AVN,” Rajput said.

“The increase in the number of patients diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip (femoral head) has increased in recent years throughout the world due to widespread use of corticosteroid therapy and the increase in alcohol consumption and the high incidence of local trauma,” Ishwar Bohra, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at New Delhi’s BLK Super Speciality Hospital, told IANS.

Bohra said the main contributing factors are smoking (35 percent), alcohol (20 percent), trauma (10-12 percent) and corticosteroids (8-10 percent).

Doctors said AVN being a progressive disease, it is very difficult to reverse it.

According to Sanjay Agarwala, head, orthopaedics & traumatology at Mumbai’s P.D. Hinduja National Hospital, the only treatment for AVN is with a medicine called Alendronate, a bisphosphonate. Alendronate is also most commonly used to treat osteoporosis as it prevents bone resorption.

“Exercise is a big no for AVN patients as it will make the situation even worse,” Agarwala said.

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