Osteoporosis: Choosing a preventative approach Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease causing the weakening of bones so that they become brittle, porous and thin. It affects 25 million Americans, of which 80 percent are women. Bones are more likely to break when stressed or on impact, and as a result, osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million painful bone fractures per year. Additionally, after menopause, estrogen production slows down and bones regenerate more slowly. As a result, half of all American women aged 50 years and older will suffer an osteoporosis break. Most of the time, women do not realize they have osteoporosis. By the time a woman has a fracture due to osteoporosis, most of the damage to her bones is done. Women can monitor themselves for osteoporosis by measuring changes to their height every two years and telling their naturopathic physician of any significant changes. Future fractures can be avoided by following a preventative treatment plan designed by a naturopathic physician to conserve and increase bone-mass. Conventionally, treatment for osteoporosis is slowing the breakdown of the bones with the prescription drug Fosamax. A naturopathic physician will identify the dietary and lifestyle habits that cause bone loss and create a treatment plan to conserve and prevent bone-loss. Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net After age 35, women start losing bone mass every year, resulting in a total loss of 10-20 percent over 20 years. A naturopathic physician can design a specific exercise regimen to help the bones stay strong. Osteoporosis is a disease of calcium loss, not deficiency, and diet is a determining factor in bone health. A naturopathic physician will carefully discuss a diet to prevent bone-mass loss, not counteract it. This will include education of foods to avoid because they make the body excrete calcium. In addition, patients will be guided to what they should eat for prevention, such as non-dairy sources to obtain more calcium. A naturopathic physician may also suggest supplements, vitamins and mineral therapy tailored for women’s health needs to minimize the effect menopause has on accelerating loss of bone-mass and to control the condition.
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