Osteoporosis is epidemic in the United States. Statistically, One in every two women and one in every four men aged fifty or older will suffer an osteoporosis related hip, spine, or wrist fracture during their lives. As the disease progresses, bones can become so vulnerable that fractures can occur spontaneously or through such mild trauma as opening a jammed window, lifting a light object from the floor with a rounded thoracic spine or even just coughing and sneezing.
Osteoporosis is the gradual and silent loss of bone and is not to be considered a normal aging process. Osteopenia is mildly reduced bone mass - a loss of approximately 10% - 20% of bone mass indicating the onset of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis was not recognized as a disease until 1994 and is known as the silent disease in that it is not recognized until major changes have occurred such as height loss or an increase in kyphosis. Pain is not always an indicator either. Pain may only occur in the hip after a fracture has occurred.
There are numerous risk factors that contribute to osteoporosis – it is no longer considered limited to the stereotype thin Caucasian female. Medications, caffeine, soda, alcohol, cigarettes, thin, obese, too much exercise, not enough exercise – all could be contributors. All this to say, looks are deceiving and more people may have osteopenia/ osteoporosis than thought. A Bone Dexa Scan is required of the lumbar spine and femur to make an official diagnosis of osteopenia/ osteoporosis.
There is hope however. Just because an individual has been diagnosed with osteopenia does not mean they will develop osteoporosis and those with osteoporosis can prevent further bone loss and actually increase bone mineralization. This can be accomplished through proper medication if indicated, good nutrition, exercise, and postural education.
A doctor specializing in osteoporosis is required to determine if medication is indicative for an individual.
Nutrition – a nutritionist/ dietician would be an appropriate consult to determine nutritional needs are met. The bottom line on nutr