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Osteoporosis - Facts and Cures

Dr. Donna Watson, Chiropractic Physician

Each year, in the United States, 1.3 million people over the age of 45 experience bone fractures associated with osteoporosis. Twelve to twenty percent of older people die within one year of a hip fracture. According to John R Lee, M.D. of Sebastapol, California. "Osteoporosis affects women more than men because women have less bone mass than men and begin to lose bone far earlier. The first five years after menopause is the most rapid period of bone loss when the body undergoes a dramatic hormone balance change. However, osteoporosis does begin in younger women as well."

Some of the causes of osteoporosis are decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone, hormones that play important roles in bone building. It can also be caused from poor diet and lack of exercise. The American diet of processed foods, carbonated soft drinks, caffeine, high protein, sugar and salt consumption can promote osteoporosis.

What's the link between diet and osteoporosis?

The relationship between protein intake and calcium loss has been known for years. Excess protein creates an excess of waste products that result from the breakdown of protein, including ammonia and acids. Ammonia prevents calcium from being reabsorbed by the kidneys. The acids which need to be buffered by calcium, also deplete bone of this mineral.

Sugar has also been linked to a depletion of calcium. Intake of soft drinks and caffeine put bones at risk. "One study showed that individuals who drink more than three cups of coffee a day increase their risk of osteoporosis by 82 %." Cigarette smoking appears to also promote osteoporosis by lowering estrogen concentration in the blood stream and alter carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream which also effects bone.

How do you test for osteoporosis?

Measuring your height is one good indicator. If you are a half an inch shorter then you used to be this is significant. X-rays only show osteoporosis after you have already lost 25% bone mass. A bone density test is the best way to measure. Your primary care physician can send you for a baseline test.

How do you prevent osteoporosis?

Prevention and treatment of this diseases is possible. It has been offered that a vegetarian diet with small amounts of dairy products and lots of whole grains and legumes is actually better for women with the disease. Natural hormone therapy can easily be accomplished by ingesting wild yams. “It is virtually the same molecule as the progesterone the body makes” explains Dr Lee.

There is also natural transdermal progesterone that you can purchase at health food stores and alternative health practitioners that help to supplement the hormone imbalance. Exercise done on a regular basis builds bones. One study showed that thirty women increased their spinal bone mass by .5% in one year with fifty minutes of vigorous walking four times a week, irrespective of calcium intake, while non-exercisers lost 7 % of spine bone mass.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, Herbology, Homeopathy, Chiropractic and Ayurvedic Medicine all have treatments that will help you to prevent getting osteoporosis or reduce and in some cases reverse the effects of already present symptoms. My advice: eat right, exercise, take supplements (Calcium/Magnesium,Boron) and get yourself tested early on before major effects take place.