-Osteoporosis- Brittle Bone Disease
Osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bones’. Translated from the Greek ‘osteon’, bone; ‘poros’, passage and ‘osis’, condition. It is characterized as a disorder of ‘abnormal rarefaction of bone’, occurring mostly in postmenopausal women, in sedentary, immobilized individuals and in patients on long-term steroid medications. Our bones are made of a thick outer shell and strong inner shell of a honeycomb mesh with tiny struts of bone. With the progression of osteoporosis these tiny struts of bone in the inner shell become thin, making the whole bone become fragile and prone to breakages. Osteoporosis often remains undetected until the first bone breaks, the most common fractures are broken wrists, hips and spinal bones.
Signs & Symptoms:
The first signs of osteoporosis are usually a broken bone or loss in height. ‘One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 in the UK alone will break a bone, due to osteoporosis’. Until the mid twenties, the bones are still growing – these are the construction cells in our bones which work hard to build up the strength in our skeleton. From the mid thirties onwards, the demolition cells take over and our bones gradually lose their density as a natural part of ageing, as the body slowly breaks itself down.
Orthodox medical research discovered that the hormone Oestrogen protects bone strength. The drop in oestrogen that occurs following menopause is mirrored by an increased loss of bone density for a few years afterwards. Orthodox medical practices usually suggest Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or similar drugs; however these can cause side effects such as: thrombosis, indigestion, diarrohea, constipation, and abdominal pain, ulceration of the oesophagus (wind pipe), increased risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Complementary medicine focuses on preventative methods and alkalising the body. Avoiding acid-forming foods is essential as research suggests ‘osteoporosis is due to the over-acidification of the body, causing the withdrawal of calcium from bones, consequently weakening the bones’. Substances to avoid are: alcohol, sugars, sweets, wheat products, preservatives, saturated fats, chemicals, pesticides, cigarettes, cow’s dairy, soft drinks, red meats. By removing acid from the body, the corrosive effects of osteoporosis will stop and the body can re-build the weakened bone.
Healthy bones reflect healthy living: taking regular exercise is the single most important action anyone can take to improve strength in their bones. Weight bearing exercises, such as walking, swimming or aerobics particularly benefit osteoporosis. Stress, lack of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, Magnesium and high doses of in-absorbable calcium such as cow’s dairy all contribute to this debilitating condition. Interestingly osteoporosis affects over 28 million Americans who consume the highest amount of cow’s dairy worldwide. Serious lifestyle and nutrition adjustments under the supervision of a naturopath or nutritionist are needed in order to handle and even reverse the debilitating effects of osteoporosis.
Your Health is Your Greatest Wealth! Hippocrates
©Article written by Caroline Evans