According to statistics, half of women will suffer from osteoporosis by age 60. Of these, one woman in five will suffer a hip fracture, and half will never walk again. 30% of osteoporosis occurs in men, and half who suffer hip fractures will die within a year.
What is the best and safest treatment for osteoporosis? Keep reading the following information that will help you find the best option to either prevent or treat osteoporosis if you see yourself at high risk.
The meaning of osteoporosis is literally "porous bones." Osteoporosis is a generally "silent" disease, which makes it somewhat frightening, since it develops over many years, but goes unnoticed by the person since it does not cause obvious symptoms or discomfort (you cannot "feel" that your bones are weakening) until you finally experience a bone fracture.
What is osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is defined as a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, produces too little bone, or both. Osteoporosis is generally seen in women over the age of 50, although younger women and men can develop this condition as well.
It is estimated that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone at some point in their life due to osteoporosis.
Looking at the osteoporotic bones through the microscope, they have an abnormal tissue structure, forming as small holes or weakened areas in the bones, this condition can cause bone fractures (broken bones), bone pain and sometimes other complications, such as a hump. widow (an abnormal external curvature of the thoracic vertebrae of the upper back).
How Osteoporosis Compares to Osteopenia
Osteopenia is another condition associated with bone loss and weakened bones, but it is not as serious as osteoporosis. Here's how Harvard Medical School explains it:
If you put bone mineral density as a slope, normal would be at the top and osteoporosis at the bottom. Osteopenia, which affects about half of Americans over the age of 50, would fall somewhere in the middle.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Bone fractures, or the surgery required to repair broken bones, can also sometimes cause life-threatening complications and permanent disability in older adults.
Bone breaks, such as those caused by falls or slips, can also limit mobility and independence, leading to emotional problems such as hopelessness and depression. This condition should not be taken lightly, as weak and broken bones can be difficult to treat.
Most common symptoms of osteoporosis
- Osteoporotic bone breaks. This occurs most often in the spine, hip, or wrist bones. They also affect the knees, feet, and other parts of the body.
- Limited mobility and difficulty completing daily activities. Many older adults who break a bone will need help at home.
- Bone or bone pain, sometimes severe and permanent.
- Stooped posture, because the bones of the spine can weaken.
- Depression and feelings of isolation.
- Loss of height
- In the elderly, greater risk of death. About 20 percent of older adults who break a hip die within a year.
Causes of Osteoporosis and Risk Factors
The low bone mass is usually caused by a combination of factors, which generally include advanced age, nutritional deficiencies due to a diet deficient and unbalanced, existing health conditions and others. The main causes of osteoporosis include:
- Inactivity, or too little exercise that helps maintain bone mass.
- Low levels of vitamin D.
- Nutritional deficiencies, especially in vitamins and minerals that help build bones such as calcium, phosphorus and vitamin K.
- Hormonal changes and imbalances, especially low levels of estrogen in women, which is the cause of many symptoms of menopause. Low testosterone levels in men can also decrease bone mass. Women suffer from osteoporosis more than men in large part due to a decrease in hormones after menopause.
- History of medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, lung disease, kidney or liver disease.
- Long-term use of certain medications, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), aromatase inhibitors, fertility drugs / hormonal drugs, anti-seizure drugs, and steroids (glucocorticoids or corticosteroids).
- High amounts of emotional stress and depression.
- Weight loss, or being on a diet that results in severe calorie restriction and malnutrition.
Being a woman and being over 70 years old are the two most important risk factors for osteoporosis. It is also possible to develop osteoporosis or suffer from low bone density due to a number of different health problems that can deplete the body of minerals and weaken bones over time.
Health Conditions That Are Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
- Breast or prostate cancer.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Hyperparathyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
- Cushing's syndrome.
- Chronic kidney disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Parkinson's disease.
- Hematological disorders of the blood.
- Female athletic triad, irregular / absent periods, or premature menopause.
- Organ transplantation.
- AIDS / HIV.
- Autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, multiple sclerosis, or ankylosing spondylitis.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema.
- Liver disease, including biliary cirrhosis.
- Polio and post-polio syndrome.
Doctors usually diagnose patients with osteoporosis using a bone mineral density (BMD) test. To perform a BMD test, a special machine measures the amount of bone mineral that is present in certain areas of the bone, usually those located in the spine, in the hips, forearms, wrists, fingers, or heels.
A dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA scan) is a common way to perform a BMD test.
Other tests that can help confirm a diagnosis include taking a patient's medical history, performing a physical exam, urine and blood tests to diagnose underlying conditions, biochemical marker tests, X-rays, and vertebral fracture evaluations (VFA).
One of the reasons your doctor may suspect that you have lost bone mass is if your height has decreased, as this often occurs due to small fractures in the spine.
What is the prognosis for someone with osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis itself is not typically life threatening, so it is definitely possible to live many years with the disease if you take steps to slow its progression.
For example, exercising daily with weights can help you gradually increase bone mass and lower your risk of complications as you age.
How long does osteoporosis take to heal? Unless someone has a severe case of osteoporosis, low bone density can usually stabilize or even improve. This takes at least six to 12 weeks, and sometimes even longer.
But even with treatment (including medications), bone mass usually does not return to normal after someone has been diagnosed with osteoporosis. The goal is to prevent bones from becoming even weaker and to prevent falls, breaks, and accidents.
Conventional treatment for osteoporosis
The treatment of osteoporosis that is conventionally carried out, regularly makes use of medicines, modification in diet and exercise. There are different medications that are available that can be helpful to stop bone loss, however, you have to know that not all of those that exist are suitable for everyone.
The one your doctor recommends will depend on certain factors, such as gender, age, your health history (for example, if you have had an autoimmune disease or cancer) and wedges the underlying causes of bone loss.
Medicines used in osteoporosis
- Bisphosphonates (they are mostly suitable for both women and men).
- Range ligand inhibitors (for men and women).
- Bisphosphonates that are only for women, for example Boniva.
- Agonists of parathyroid hormone related proteins.
- Hormone replacement therapy (most are for women only). These may include estrogen agonists / antagonists (also called selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM)), or tissue-specific estrogen complex.
Natural treatment for osteoporosis
Non- drug treatments for osteoporosis that can be very effective include preventing vitamin D deficiency, treating hormonal imbalances, getting adequate (strength) exercise, and eating a special diet for osteoporosis.
Diet is of great importance in bone health because it will dictate whether you are getting enough essential vitamins, proteins, and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese, which play a key role in bone formation.
It is best to diagnose and treat osteoporosis in its early manifestations, however, if it is not, there is still a lot you can do to control symptoms and thus help stop the disease from progressing.
Here are ways to support bone health and reduce symptoms like pain and loss of mobility.
1. Healthy diet to treat osteoporosis
Make it your priority to eat enough foods that give you essential nutrients: protein, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin K.
About half of the structure of your bones is made of protein, so a low protein diet is not compatible with healing, as well as a high protein diet. However, it is important to balance protein intake with mineral intake.
The recommended daily amount of protein for adults is between 0.8 grams per kg of body weight per day, up to about 1.0 grams / kg / day.
Protein-rich foods include grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, eggs and poultry, fermented cheese and yogurt, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes.
2. Physical activity as a treatment for osteoporosis
Exercise is very beneficial for people with osteoporosis as it is an important aid to increase bone mass, helps to improve balance and flexibility, relieve stress, reduce inflammation and much more.
And to be safe, avoid all activities that require a lot of jumping, bending forward from the waist, or over-twisting your spine.
Walking and other weight-bearing activities are best for supporting bone strength. The types of exercises that are most recommended for people with low bone density include:
- Brisk walking (a treadmill may be the best way to prevent falls).
- Use an elliptical.
- Bodyweight exercises like squats and assisted push-ups.
- Tai Chi.
You can use a chair, a wall, bands, light weights, and tubes to help you. Even the mildest forms of exercise are helpful; Some studies have shown that adults who practice Tai Chi have a 47% decrease in falls and a 25% decrease in the rate of hip fracture of those who do not.
If you experience pain for more than a day or two after exercising, this is probably not the right type of exercise for you. Always talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you are not sure which type is the best.
To improve bone density, weight training exercises are essential. Strength training is recommended, ideally three times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. It is best to do “compound movements” that strengthen several parts of the body at the same time.
Examples of compound exercises include: squats, barbell and barbell weights, all types of push-ups, deadlifts, jumping rope, and push-ups. If you're new to strength training and this sounds intimidating, consider working with a personal trainer or attending group exercise classes for help.
It is also recommended to test vibration platforms. You stand on one of these platforms for approximately 5-20 minutes daily to help improve bone density naturally.
3. Helps prevent falls
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that each year approximately one third of all people over 65 will fall, and many times this will result in a fracture / broken bone. Within the osteoporosis treatment that you can follow yourself, here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling and injuring yourself when you are at home or outside:
- Use a walker or cane if necessary.
- Get up slowly from sitting or lying down.
- Keep your house well lit and use a flashlight when walking outside in the dark.
- Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes that help you balance (sneakers, low-heeled shoes with rubber soles, boots, flat shoes instead of heels, etc.)
- Use handrails when available to support you when climbing stairs.
- Be careful walking on slippery roads or sidewalks after it rains or snows.
- Avoid walking on wet, slippery and highly polished marble or tile.
- Clean up walking paths around your home, such as clearing your porch, deck, hallways, and driveway.
- Keep a light outside your front door.
- Inside your home, put the items you use most frequently within easy reach. Use assistive devices to avoid straining, slouching, or injury. It is necessary to use a sturdy stool.
- Consider using a personal emergency response system (PERS) if you live alone.
- Remove all loose cords, cables, and loose rugs. Keep floors and rugs free of clutter that can cause you to trip.
- Install grab bars on the walls of your shower / tub or bathroom.
- In your kitchen place non-slip rugs or rugs.
- Keep the stairs well lit.
- Try not to rush, as this makes falls more likely.
4. Treatment for osteoporosis with essential oils
Applying essential oils topically to the affected areas or through consumption, can be helpful to increase bone density and help improve bones, it also helps with pain related to this disease.
Use essential oils like: orange, rosemary, sage, ginger, and thyme oil topically, about three times a day. You are going to mix several drops of any of these oils with a carrier oil like coconut and apply it directly to the painful areas.
Also consider healing therapies to reduce stress such as massage, acupuncture, and the scent of touch.
5. Increase levels of vitamin D in the sun
20 minutes of sun exposure a day with your bare skin is the best way to prevent a vitamin D deficiency.
You should expose almost all of your skin to the sun, to its greatest extent, without using sunscreen but only for short periods of time, if you want to produce more vitamin D. However, to produce enough, you should know that the darker your skin is, you will require more sunlight.
Older adults produce vitamin D with more difficulty than younger people, even if they are exposed to the same amount of sun.
You will have to supplement with vitamin D if you live in places with a very cold climate that prevents you from going out to expose yourself to the sun, also, if you are already over 60 years old, and even before, for many women.
6. Supplements to treat osteoporosis
- Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU daily): Vitamin D helps improve calcium absorption.
- Vitamin K2 (100 mcg per day): This vitamin is necessary to form a protein for bone formation.
- Calcium (1000mg per day): Choose the calcium citrate that is best absorbed. Trademarks are not good.
- Strontium (680 mg per day): This metallic element can help improve bone density. It is found naturally in sea water.
- Magnesium (500 mg per day): Magnesium is needed for proper calcium metabolism.
7. Discuss the use of medications with your doctor
If you take steroids to treat an existing health condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Crohn's disease, cancer, or lupus, you should take extra precautions to exercise, eat a mineral-rich diet, and stop smoking to protect your bones.
Common steroid medications can include cortisone, dexamethasone (Decadron®), methylprednisolone (Medrol®), and prednisone. Taking these medications for three or more months has been shown to increase the risk of losing bone mass and developing osteoporosis.
While these medications may be necessary to manage serious health conditions, you should still talk to your doctor about the right dose for you or possible alternatives based on your risk of bone loss.
Diet for the treatment of osteoporosis
What is the best natural treatment for osteoporosis? An important part of osteoporosis treatment and prevention is eating a diet that is rich in nutrients, as our body needs many minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, to protect bones.
An alkaline diet is the best type of diet for bone health. This diet can be of great help because it balances the amounts of minerals that are key for the development of bones and the maintenance of lean muscle mass, including magnesium, phosphate and calcium.
Alkaline diets also help improve the production of growth hormones and absorption of vitamin D, which protect your bones as you age.
An unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet, and lack of exercise mean that problems with bone density are not only experienced by older adults, but also by the young.
Foods to prevent and treat osteoporosis
As already mentioned, diet is crucial to ensure that our body can regain bone density, as well as physical activity, the treatment of osteoporosis must include a thorough knowledge about the foods allowed and which ones to exclude from our menu.
1. Foods high in calcium:
Calcium is an essential structural component of the skeleton, its deficiency can contribute to the fracture of the bones.
All dairy products, green vegetables (such as okra, broccoli, watercress, and kale), sardines, and almonds.
2. Cultured raw dairy products
Amasai, kefir, yogurt, and raw cheese contain magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin K, and foods rich in vitamin D, all vital for building strong bones.
3. Foods rich in manganese
Manganese participates in the formation of bone mass and helps to balance hormones naturally.
Whole grains such as brown rice, teff, rye, buckwheat, beans and legumes, oats and amaranth, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts.
4. Wild or wild-caught fish
Chronic inflammation can go hand in hand with osteoporosis. The omega-3 fatty acids that are present in some fish are helpful in reducing inflammation. The best sources include sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and halibut.
5. Green leafy vegetables
These types of vegetables contain vitamin K and calcium that are essential to keep our bones strong. Some top sources include spinach, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, watercress, collards, dandelion greens, and endive.
6. Alkaline foods
Osteoporosis can be linked to an acidic pH, and so eating lots of vegetables and fruits can help promote an alkaline environment that prevents bone loss.
The most alkaline foods are: green vegetables, grapefruit, fresh herbs and spices, avocados, tomatoes, alfalfa, black radish, barley, jicama, cucumber, wheatgrass, cabbage, broccoli, celery, watermelon, beets, and ripe bananas.
Marine vegetables: these vegetables are rich in minerals that are very important for bone formation, as well as being rich in antioxidants that promote health in general. Include wakame, seaweed, nori, agar, or kombu in your diet.
One of the best things to have is green juice made from green vegetables and powdered grasses, which are loaded with alkaline-forming foods and chlorophyll.
7. Other quality proteins
Remember that in the elderly, diets that are too low in protein can affect bone health. However, very high protein diets are not the healthiest either because they tend to be overly acidic, so striking a balance is important.
Try to eat a moderate amount of clean, high-quality protein at each meal, such as grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, eggs and poultry, fermented cheese and yogurt, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes.
What foods you should not eat if you have osteoporosis
The following foods can worsen bone loss and can contribute to low bone mass or osteoporosis:
- Too much alcohol also increases inflammation that can lead to more calcium leaking from the bones.
- Sugary Drinks: The high phosphorus content found in sodas can remove calcium from your bones. Sugar also increases inflammation.
- Processed Red Meat - A high intake of red meat and sodium can lead to bone loss.
- Caffeine: Consuming an excessive amount of caffeine can be a cause of bone loss.
- Don't smoke as it makes many chronic health conditions worse.
- Sugar increases inflammation, which could make osteoporosis worse.
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