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Skeletal Fluorosis

Skeletal Fluorosis

Health is precious to all, but, it is also difficult to remain unaffected by diseases, that are increasing at an alarming rate. Skeletal fluorosis is one such disease that causes tremendous pain and suffering to the affected person. Let's continue to learn more about its effects, symptoms and ways of treating the disease.
Amruta Gaikwad
Fluoride is a toxic substance that is prevalent in many pesticides, cavity prevention and even used in different medications. When the fluoride is excessively consumed, it results into fluorosis of skeletal structure. This disease harms the bones and creates tremendous pain in the body and causes injuries and disorders of the skeletal system. Fluoride can be consumed through contaminated drinking water and from inhaling the dust or fumes out of using coal as a fuel at homes. Cases of this disease are mainly found in India, China, Japan and Middle East countries as the consumption of fluoride water is more.
The adequate intake (AI) of fluoride varies as discussed below.
» In infants aged 0-6 months: AI intake is 0.01 mg/day
» In infants aged 7-12 months: AI intake is 0.5 mg/day
» In children aged 1-3 years: AI intake is 0.7 mg/day
» In children aged 4-8 years: AI intake is 1.0 mg/day
» In children aged 9-13 years: AI intake is 2.0 mg/day
» In adults: AI intake is 4.0 mg/day in males and 3.0 mg/day in females
Anything in excess of the above-mentioned levels can lead to fluorosis.
Common causes of fluorosis include:
• Use of coal as an indoor source of fuel
• Workers in the industries inhaling fluoride fumes or dust
• Fluoride consumption from water
• Fluoride uptake from drinking tea, specially in heavy tea drinkers
Stages and Symptoms
Preclinical and clinical are the two stages in which this disease can be analyzed. During the preclinical stage, the blood and bone composition gets disturbed as the biochemical abnormalities begin to occur. The symptoms of this part of the phase goes unnoticed, but the fluoride has already affected the body. As the preclinical stage progresses, histological changes are observed during biopsies of the bones. These changes weaken the bones and lead to further complications.
Commencement of clinical stage, changes the structure of the bones. During this stage the affected person will experience more pain in the bones and joints, feel fatigue and even have less appetite. Such discomforts can result into many other disorders such as gastrointestinal infections. At the end of this phase the bones will appear distorted and also, changes in the structure of pelvis and spinal cord will be visible.
The second phase of clinical stage brings frequent pain in the bones and stiffening of the ligaments. It also gives rise to osteosclerosis disease, where in the bones begin to develop abnormal crystalline structure. The joints such as the knee and the elbow will begin to develop bony spurs.
The last stage of this bone disease is when termed as crippling fluorosis as it makes the movement difficult for the patient. In this stage the spinal cord merge to completely handicap the patient.
Treatment
Our body needs sufficient nutrients to have a balanced health. However, when the intake of the certain substances exceeds the normal consumption quantity, our health is then likely to suffer from diseases. Diseases like these when target the body, the patients health only progresses towards death. However, if the symptoms are well recognized then treatments could help to reduce the severity of the disease.
Symptoms of this ailment and arthritis are similar and therefore, many doctors mistake it to the latter medical condition. Even the early stage indications are hard to recognize as the intensity of pain is less. Often when the body undergoes serious pain and suffering, that is the time, the affected person feels the need to treat the problem. In case, the symptoms are detected early, there is a slight possibility that the disease could be cured, by stopping the intake of fluorine. Once the consumption of fluorine is reduced, the remaining fluorine in the body gets flushed out through urine. Though the process of clearing the body from this toxin is slow, it completely frees the body from fluorine. In case the disease has advanced and has caused bone fracture, the disease needs to be handled with care as it could permanently damage the body.
Prevention
Fluoride toxin accumulates in the body for many years and eventually when it has caused maximum damage, it reflects on our health. This disease mainly spreads through drinking water and other products such as mouth rinses and even toothpaste. Therefore, it must be used efficiently and is better to keep the children away from these products. In case children consume a large quantity of any of these products it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain in them.
Our skeletal system supports our muscles and protects many organs of the body. However, due to the poor eating habits and lifestyle, humans have become an easy target of acquiring such diseases. Eating a balanced diet which contains sufficient nutrients and maintaining a regular medical check can help you live a healthier lifestyle.