What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporsis is a condition characterized by progressive demineralization of the bones due to loss of calcium. The term “osteoporosis” is derived from Latin meaning “porous bones”.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Demineralization of the bones is a normal phase of the aging process. There are some conditions however which can accelerate this condition such as smoking, diabetes, chronic steroid use, early hysterectomy etc.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Usually there are no symptoms, and the condition is discovered either through a fracture or as an incidental finding on an x ray.
How can I Take Care of Myself?
Ensure that you are eating a well balanced diet and are getting plenty of exercise. Supplement your diet with sufficient calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important because it enables calcium to be absorbed (adults over age 50 need 800-1,000 international units per day). Ask your doctor for a screening bone density test starting at age 50 years and every 5 years thereafter.
How is Osteoporosis Treated?
This depends upon the severity of bone demineralization. If the loss is mild (osteopenia), calcium and vitamin D supplementation may be all that are needed. If bone demineralization is moderate or severe (osteoporosis) medications such as the bisphosphonates may be prescribed. Your doctor may recommend fall prevention measures such as wearing low heeled shoes, keeping walkways free of leaves, trash, and clutter, and using assistive devices such as a walker or cane as needed.
Natural Remedy: Consider supplementing your diet with soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens (isoflavones) which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body (estrogen inhibits bone loss). See our food as medicine section for additional information. Consult your doctor to determine if soy is appropriate for your particular situation.
National Osteoporosis Foundation
National Osteoporosis Society