By Michael Gaeta, LAc, LDN
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: Pain, especially lower back; easy bone fractures - esp. hip, wrist or spine; hunched posture.
FACTS & FIGURES: Eight times more common in women; affects 40% of women over 50; 90% over 75; affects five million men; more are "at risk"; 50% of women & 20% of men over 50 suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.
RISK FACTORS: Family history of osteoporosis; overactive thyroid or parathyroid glands; prior hip, spine, or wrist fracture; height loss of greater than 1-1/2 inches; vertebral deformity ("Dowager''s hump"); post-menopausal women with low estrogen; drugs: steroids, anti-seizure medicines, diuretics, chemotherapy, transplant drugs; alcohol abuse, heavy smoking; cancer, chronic kidney disease; sedentary lifestyle, immobilization.
WESTERN DIAGNOSIS: Dual x-ray absorptiometry bone densitometer; CAT scans; standard x-ray; ultrasound.
CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT: Diet - mostly dairy products; calcium supplements (synthetically chelated with synthetic vitamin D added, or calcium carbonate - cheapest and most poorly absorbed form); drugs to inhibit osteoclasts, or "chewer cells” e.g. estrogen, calcitonin, bisphosphonates (Fosamax) - all have numerous potential adverse effects.
WHOLISTIC MEDICINE - CONTRIBUTING FACTORS: Poor diet: pasteurized dairy products, caffeinated or carbonated beverages, etc.; reduced digestive function, malabsorption; nutritional deficiency leading to poor glandular function.
WHOLISTIC TREATMENT: Whole foods diet - no dairy products; calcium from green veggies & whole grains; raw bone & other quality calcium supplement; improve glandular (hormonal) balance; improve digestive function & absorption; exercise at any age increases bone density; sunshine produces vitamin D; stop smoking, reduce alcohol; stress management.
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