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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones and increases the risk of bone breaks and fractures. It is referred to as the ‘Silent Killer’. It does not just affect the elderly; it can affect all people of any age and both genders.

The structure of a bone is an amazing thing; it can protect you and provide you with a means to accomplish great things. New bones are constantly regenerating and forming replacement bone cells when older cells die through natural turnover, disease or injury. Bone regeneration also requires significant micro-circulation and nutrient delivery to fuel the creation of the structural integrity of the human frame. Maximum bone density occurs from age 16 to 32 years of age, yet it is the constant replacement that prevents osteoporosis. This replacement requires the delivery of calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin D and other nutrients to the bone via microcirculation.

Surprisingly, skeletal bones also completely regenerate every three months. However, when you don’t take care of your bones the system unravels.

Calcium is a crucial nutrient in your body and is stored in your bones. When the body senses a low level of calcium in the blood it will breakdown bone in order to release its reserves. When there is a high amount of calcium in the blood, the body will build bone material to store it. In a healthy young person, the bones are equally broken down and rebuilt and this maintains a solid structure. As a person ages, the rebuilding of bones slows down. Unfortunately with osteoporosis, the bones that break usually occur in the hip, pelvis, and wrists.

To make matters worse, many factors play into the increased risks of bone weakening:

  • Ethnicity and gender
  • Thin frame and bones
  • Age
  • Family history or personal history of fractures
  • Menopause
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Smoking
  • Medication

Silent Killer

Osteoporosis is known as the ‘Silent Killer’ because it doesn’t have any symptoms. The only way to find out if you have bone lose is to take a bone density test. The test is painless, but most people wouldn’t take the time out of their busy lives unless a doctor told them they had to, or perhaps if they broke a bone.
It may be possible to receive a fracture to a spinal vertebra without knowing it. If this happens, a decrease in height of up to an inch can be observed. More than one vertebrae fracture can decrease height more than an inch, and can cause a curved spine, stooped posture, back pain and fatigue.

Ethnicity/Gender/Bone Size/Age Risks

The likelihood of someone getting weakened bones can happen to anyone. It is not exclusive to the elderly. The odds increase in women 4 times more than men. If you are a Caucasian or Asian women your odds are the highest, next are African-American and Hispanic women. Unfortunate for women, when their hormone levels begin to fluctuate during menopause their body slows down on building bone. Around the beginning age of menopause, 30 years of age, women will begin their hormone risk increase. Men won’t begin their susceptibility until the ages of 65-70. Once woman reach their menopause years they have a 50% chance of breaking a bone. Men have a 25% chance of breaking a bone in their elder years.
An added risk for women can be the size of their skeletal frame, having small bones can increase your chances.

Menopause

If you are concerned with whether you may have osteoporosis or not, you will want to check your family history.
Menopause is a hormonal change in women that decreases their estrogen levels. For a period of 5-8 years, the estrogen levels are very low. Speaking in bone health terms, when estrogen is low, the balance between bone building and bone break-down changes. When estrogen levels are normal it encourages building bones and storing calcium. Typically, medication or estrogen replacement therapy is required to encourage your body to continue to build bone.

Diet

The American diet is full of fat and carbohydrates. This can make it hard to get your daily requirements of Calcium and Vitamin D. These two nutrients work together to promote absorption. Calcium comes from food items such as:

  • High calcium diary items; milk, yogurt, cream, etc…
  • Calcium fortified orange juice
  • Fresh spinach
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Sardines or salmon
  • Supplements; calcium MCHA, or calcium citrate.

Vitamin D primary source is from natural sunlight. Your body produces it after being exposed to the suns rays. You can also get it from fortified food such as:
High-fat fish
Fortified milk

Please remember when consuming dairy or meat products to purchase items that do not contain growth hormones or antibiotics.

Daily requirements for Calcium
All people 1000mg

Daily requirements for Vitamin D
Age 19-50 200IU
Age 51-69 400IU
Age 70+ 600IU

While there are many people trying to connect sodas with osteoporosis, it has yet to be confirmed. However, caffeine has been shown to decrease bone mass. Women who drink more than 190 mg of caffeine in a day increase their odds of a hip fracture by 25%. A cup of regular coffee has about 40mg of caffeine. A can of soda also contains about 40 mg of caffeine.

Exercise

When someone leads a sedentary lifestyle, they are literally telling their body that it’s okay to weaken. Exercise is important to maintain and increase bone and muscle strength. Weight bearing exercises like running, weight training, push-ups and sit-ups, and squats force your bones to respond to the demands. Likewise, your muscles and connective tissue must respond to support the weight. In turn, your muscles will strengthen and your bones will grow.

Smoking

While smoking is unhealthy in general, it has a specific impact on bone health. Smoking can lower estrogen levels, and as we discussed with menopause, low estrogen promotes the break down of bone. Not only does it lower estrogen, it hinders your body in calcium absorption.
Imagine really “doing your body good” by having a glass of low-fat, organic milk. By introducing the milk to your body, your bones begin to respond with gathering the materials for bone mass. Then, you smoke a cigarette. The chemical reaction blocks the absorption of calcium, your bones stop building onto themselves, and all the healthy side effects of that glass of milk are wasted.
If you are a smoker, it will be highly beneficial to quit. If you don’t smoke, you have given yourself an advantage for better bone health.

Medication

It is important to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis is you are taking any prescription medicine. Many pharmaceutical medicines have detrimental side effects for healthy bones. Prescription medicines for, cancer, arthritis, asthma, seizures, and steroidal medicines can cause bone loss.

Prevention

There are a lot of factors that contribute to your personal susceptibility for osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are ways of preventing this condition.

  • Maintain a healthy diet which includes Calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Exercise at least 3 times a week, including some kind of weight bearing activity.
  • If you smoke, seriously consider the health benefits of quitting.
  • Women, educate yourself on menopause and ways to protect yourself from bone loss.
    Men, educate yourself on menopause to help your loved ones during this time.

  • There are pharmaceutical and natural medicines that can prevent and/or support bone health.
  • Evaluate your home for possible risks to falling. Many times a simple fall in your home can start a cascade of negative effects.
  • Partaking in activities that are risky or dangerous can increase your risk of breaking a bone or the surrounding supportive tissue. The more breaks you have, the more likely you are to future bone weakness.

Summary

Your skeletal and muscular systems are vital to your overall health. Many things can contribute to bone loss. Become familiar with your individual risk factors and seek preventative methods. Living a healthy lifestyle will greatly decrease your risk for osteoporosis. It will increase your vital age, health and longevity.

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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