FAST FACTS ON OSTEOPOROSIS
Osteoporosis & Chinese MedicineOsteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and wrist, although any bone can be affected.
80 pecentr of those affected by Osteoporosis are Women.
Twenty percent of those affected by osteoporosis are men.
1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime.
Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including:
The estimated national direct expenditures (hospitals and nursing homes) for osteoporotic and associated fractures was $17 billion in 2001 ($47 million each day) and the cost is rising.
Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes a fracture or a vertebra to collapse. Collapsed vertebrae may initially be felt or seen in the form of severe back pain, loss of height, or spinal deformities such as kyphosis or stooped posture.
Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others. Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis are called “risk factors.” These risk factors include:
Personal history of fracture after age 50
Current low bone mass
History of fracture in a 1st degree relative
Being thin and/or having a small frame
A family history of osteoporosis
Estrogen deficiency as a result of menopause, especially early or surgically induced
Abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
Low lifetime calcium intake
Vitamin D deficiency
Use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids and anticonvulsants
Presence of certain chronic medical conditions
Low testosterone levels in men
An inactive lifestyle
Current cigarette smoking
Excessive use of alcohol
Being Caucasian or Asian, although African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at significant risk as well
Women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years following menopause, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Specialized tests called bone density tests can measure bone density in various sites of the body. A bone density test can:
Detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs.
Predict your chances of fracturing in the future.
DXA BMD can determine rate of bone loss and/or monitor the effects of treatment if the test is conducted at intervals of a year or more.
By about age 20, the average woman has acquired 98 percent of her skeletal mass. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis later. There are four steps, which together, can optimize bone health and help prevent osteoporosis. They are:
A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D;
A healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake; and
Bone density testing and medication, when appropriate.
The most typical sites of fractures related to osteoporosis are the hip, spine, wrist, and ribs, although the disease can affect any bone in the body.
The rate of hip fractures is two to three times higher in women than men; however, the one year mortality following a hip fracture is nearly twice as high for men as for women.
A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
In 1991, about 300,000 Americans age 45 and over were admitted to hospitals with hip fractures. Osteoporosis was the underlying cause of most of these injuries.
An average of 24 percent of hip fracture patients aged 50 and over die in the year following their fracture.
One-fourth of those who were ambulatory before their hip fracture require long-term care afterward.
At six months after hip fracture, only 15 percent of hip fracture patients can walk across a room unaided.
White women 65 or older have twice the incidence of fractures as African-American women.
Nutritional and Herbal Therapy for Osteoporosis
Calcium (1,000 mg a day, but should be increased for osteoporosis) is extremely important. If your blood levels are low in this mineral, calcium will be taken from your bones in order give the muscles and nerves the amount they need.
Vitamin D is needed in order to absorb calcium.
Magnesium (500 mg a day) helps convert Vitamin D into its usable form.
Vitamin K is essential for bone mineralization. Low levels are associated with low bone density.
Isoflavone has a positve effect on bone metabolism.
Vitamins B12 and B6, folic acid keep homecysteine levels down, which has been linked to osteoporosis risk