Osteoporosis is when bone tissue loses density and begins to thin. This begins when the body fails to create new bone and too much old bone is being reabsorbed by the body or excreted (or both). This weakens the bone and leaves risk of fractures. Researchers estimate that about 1 out of 5 American women over the age of 50 have Osteoporosis. About half of all women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebra (bones of the spine). Calcium and Phosphorus are the two main minerals that keep our bones healthy and strong.
You may be at risk for Osteoporosis if you are over 50 years old, have gone through menopause, have a family history of osteoporosis, already have Osteopenia (low bone density), take medication that excrete Calcium or Phosophorus, or have a poor diet.
Typically, there no symptoms with Osteoporosis. In later stages of Osteoporosis, one may notice:
- spinal fractures with little or no trauma involved.
- Neck or Back pain
- Loss of Height
- Stooped Posture
So what can we all do to detect it and prevent it? Prevention is the key!
- Get a DEXA Scan if you are at Menopausal age, over 50, and have experienced any of these symptoms. X-rays will also show Osteoporosis if the bone loss is over 50%.
- Take vitamin D and Calcium supplements . A proper dose of Vitamin D is between 2,000-5,000 IU/day. 2,000 is proper for undiagnosed Osteoporosis but if you are Diagnosed, bump it to 5,000/day. Calcium intake should be a minimum of 1,000mg/day. Make sure you take both!
- Do weight exercises. Lifting weights and moderate impact exercise helps the body increase new bone formation. 2-3 days of exercise /week will help with Osteoporosis prevention!
- Drink Less caffeine and drink more water. Excessive caffeine excretes Calcium. 1-2 cups/day at maximum.
- Eliminate Soda and Soft Drinks. The excess Phosphorus in soda excretes Calcium at a fast pace.
- Eat less meat. Eating animal meat also secretes Calcium! For those elderly folks on high protein/ low carbohydrate diets, be aware of this! You are at greater risk for kidney stones as well.
- Get out in the sun and walk. 20-30 minutes of sun exposure per WEEK is sufficient enough to activate the enzymes that create Vitamin D that you need in one week! Get in some weight baring exercise and your Vitamin D.
- Talk to your doctor about decreasing your reflux medication. Medications for GERDS (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) often block the absorption of Calcium. You need the acid in your stomach to absorb Calcium. There are other natural options for GERDS treatment.
If you are at risk for Osteoporosis or currently have this condition, ask your Physician or Chiropractic Physician for more advice on prevention and quality of life! Talk with your Physician about what medications may interact and cause future problems.