A condition that gradually weakens bones making them increasingly fragile and more likely to break.
Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis
The conventional approach to preventing bone loss focuses mainly on calcium supplements and estrogen therapy. Although these treatments are partly effective, more than one million American women suffer a fracture each year as a direct result of thinning bones.
In addition, there are concerns that estrogen therapy, as it is commonly prescribed in the United States, can increase the risk of breast cancer, as well as causing other side effects.
Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis presents a number of important new concepts:
- that bone loss depends on many nutrients besides calcium, including magnesium, vitamin K, manganese, folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, strontium, silicon, and boron
- that there is an alternative approach to hormone replacement therapy—one that includes progesterone, DHEA, and more natural forms of estrogen—that appears to be safe and more effective than conventional hormone treatments
- that what you eat determines in part how strong your bones will be
- that a number of environmental pollutants are contributing to the modern epidemic of osteoporosis
Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis a book by Alan Gaby, MD.
Factors that will increase the risk of developing osteoporosis are:
- Female, Caucasian or Asian race, thin and small body frames, and a family history of osteoporosis. (Having a mother with an osteoporotic hip fracture doubles your risk of hip fracture.)
- Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, lack of exercise, and a diet low in calcium.
- Poor nutrition and poor general health.
- Malabsorption (nutrients are not properly absorbed from the gastrointestinal system) from conditions such as Celiac Sprue.
- Low estrogen levels such as occur in menopause or with early surgical removal of both ovaries. Another cause of low estrogen level is chemotherapy, such as for breast cancer. Chemotherapy can cause early menopause due to its toxic effects on the ovaries.
- Amenorrhea (loss of the menstrual period) in young women also causes low estrogen and osteoporosis. Amenorrhea can occur in women who undergo extremely vigorous training and in women with very low body fat (example: anorexia nervosa).
- Chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic hepatitis C, an infection of the liver.
- Immobility, such as after a stroke, or from any condition that interferes with walking.
- Hyperthyroidism, a condition wherein too much thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland (as in Grave's disease) or is caused by taking too much thyroid hormone medication.
- Hyperparathyroidism, a disease wherein there is excessive parathyroid hormone production by the parathyroid gland (a small gland located near the thyroid gland). Normally, the parathyroid hormone maintains blood calcium levels by, in part, removing calcium from the bone. In untreated hyperparathyroidism, excessive parathyroid hormone causes too much calcium to be removed from the bone, which can lead to osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. When vitamin D is lacking, the body cannot absorb adequate amounts of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency can result from lack of intestinal absorption of the vitamin such as occurs in celiac sprue and primary biliary cirrhosis.
- Certain medications can cause osteoporosis. These include heparin (a blood thinner), anti-seizure medications phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital, and long term use of corticosteroids (such as Prednisone).
Other Risk Factors
Low Sex Hormones
a) Estrogen Levels. In women, the sex hormone estrogen protects bones. If you are a woman and go through menopause early, your risk of osteoporosis increases. The same is true if you have your ovaries removed. That’s because your ovaries produce most of your body’s estrogen. In either of these cases, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider about steps to improve bone health.
b) Missing Periods. If you are a young woman and don’t have regular periods, this could mean low estrogen levels. There could be many reasons for this, such as exercising too much or eating so little that you become too thin. Other causes could include disorders of the ovaries or the pituitary, which is the gland in the brain that directs hormone production by the ovaries. Regardless of the cause, loss of estrogen and extreme thinness can harm bone health. It can also affect other vital body systems. For these reasons, young women who don’t have regular periods should speak to their healthcare provider.
c) Testosterone Levels. In men, testosterone protects bone. Estrogen levels in men are also important. Low levels of these hormones can lead to bone loss. A number of factors can cause levels to be low, including eating too little or drinking too much alcohol. A simple blood test can tell you if your hormone levels are normal.
- DEXA - Today a bone density test, also called densitometry or DEXA scan, can determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis before you break any bones. A bone density test uses special X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. A bone density test is a fairly accurate predictor of your risk. The results from a bone density test can let you know how you compare with other people of your age, sex and other similar characteristics
RESULTS: If you are loosing bone rapidly or have a T score above 1 you are at risk and should take precautions.
- Vitamin D, 25-OH, Total - Home Blood Test
- Bone Marker Test
- Hormone Tests
Osteoporosis Support Program
- Practice good sleep habits and get between 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Reduce your stress levels as much as possible. Try to nurture your soul with pleasure, relaxation,
- family & friends and the arts.
- Weight bearing exercise is crucial such as walking, jogging, aerobics.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Avoid stress and extra obligations.
- Eat plenty of fruit and fresh vegetables.
- Include daily Green drinks or fresh vegetable juices.
- Avoid soda, instead choose green drinks like PaleoGreens or fresh vegetable juices. In addition,drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily.
- Eat plenty of high calcium foods such as sesame seeds, tahini, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews,walnuts, cheese, goat cheese.
- Eat green leafy vegetables high in magnesium such as salad greens, collard and mustard greens.