What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Men as well as women are affected by osteoporosis, a disease that can be prevented and treated.


What Is Bone?
Bone is living, growing tissue. It is made mostly of collagen, a protein that provides a soft framework, and calcium phosphate, a mineral that adds strength and hardens the framework.

This combination of collagen and calcium makes bone both flexible and strong, which in turn helps it to withstand stress. More than 99 percent of the body's calcium is contained in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1 percent is found in the blood.
Throughout your lifetime, old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is added to the skeleton (formation). During childhood and teenage years, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. As a result, bones become larger, heavier, and denser. Bone formation outpaces resorption until peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) is reached around age 30. After that time, bone resorption slowly begins to exceed bone formation.
For women, bone loss is fastest in the first few years after menopause, and it continues into the postmenopausal years. Osteoporosis - which mainly affects women but may also affect men - will develop when bone resorption occurs too quickly or when replacement occurs too slowly. Osteoporosis is more likely to develop if you did not reach optimal peak bone mass during your bone-building years.

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 hip to 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 (severely stooped posture).

Following a comprehensive medical assessment, your doctor may recommend that you have your bone mass measured. A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the best way to determine your bone health. BMD tests can identify osteoporosis, determine your risk for fractures (broken bones), and measure your response to osteoporosis treatment. The most widely recognized bone mineral density test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA test. It is painless - a bit like having an x ray, but with much less exposure to radiation. It can measure bone density at your hip and spine. Bone density tests can:
•    Detect low bone density before a fracture occurs.
•    Confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis if you already have one or more fractures.
•    Predict your chances of fracturing in the future.
•    Determine your rate of bone loss, and/or monitor the effects of treatment if the test is conducted at intervals of a year or more.

Osteoporosis Facts and Figures
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 44 million Americans, 68 percent of whom are women.
In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals already have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for this disease.
One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
More than 2 million American men suffer from osteoporosis, and millions more are at risk. Each year, 80,000 men have a hip fracture and one-third of these men die within a year.

Osteoporosis can strike at any age.
Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including 300,000 hip fractures, approximately 700,000 vertebral fractures, 250,000 wrist fractures, and more than 300,000 fractures at other sites.

Based on figures from hospitals and nursing homes, the estimated national direct expenditures for osteoporosis and related fractures total $14 billion each year.

Osteoporosis Symptoms and Natural Treatment

Protect Against and Combat Osteoporosis Naturally
By Stewart Hare

Osteoporosis is on the whole a largely preventable condition that decreases the bone density which in tern causes them to become brittle; this increases the risks of spinal vertebrae compression and fractures, particularly in the hip, wrist, and spine. Caucasian and Asian postmenopausal women are the most affected group from osteoporosis. The hormone oestrogen protects women against bone loss before menopause. The symptoms of osteoporosis are largely unnoticeable until the incidences of broken bones become fact. Symptoms to be aware of and to look out for are back and neck pain, dowager's hump, diminished height and rounded shoulders.

Osteoporosis is caused by many factors, the dominance of oestrogen to progesterone, the leaching of calcium from the bone due to excessive protein consumption and deficiency of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin C, silica, zinc, boron and phosphorus in the diet, which are all vital for healthy bone growth.
To help combat osteoporosis it is best to cut down on animal protein intake, studies have shown that vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis. This is because animal protein increases the loss of calcium through urine; the loss of calcium increases the risk of osteoporosis. Another agent that increases the loss of calcium through urine is dietary salt. Cutting down the intake of dietary salt and processed and fast foods which tend to be high in salt content will help with osteoporosis. Decreasing the amount of coffee, caffeine-containing carbonated soft drinks and tea will help with osteoporosis, like protein intake and salt, caffeine also increases the loss of calcium through urine. So cutting out caffeine is a good idea. Many carbonated soft drinks also have a substance called phosphoric acid which has been linked to the loss of calcium and the increase of bone fractures. Increasing the amount of isoflavones rich Soya foods such as tofu will help protect against osteoporosis. Increasing the consumption of oily fish, evening primrose and flaxseed oil will help to increase calcium deposition in the bones due to the high amounts of essential fatty acids these products have.

Giving up smoking will help with osteoporosis because it increases bone loss. Taking up exercise especially weight bearing exercise will help with osteoporosis. Be careful of dieting, excessive quick weight loss has been linked with osteoporosis.
The following supplements may help if you are suffering from osteoporosis.

Bone mineral complex
Evening primrose oil
Fish Oil
Flaxseed oil
Folic Acid
Multivitamin and multiminerals
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B6
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin K

Stewart Hare C.H.Ed Dip NutTh
Advice for a healthier natural life
website: http://www.newbeingnutrition.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

Osteoporosis Treatment

A comprehensive osteoporosis treatment program includes a focus on proper nutrition, exercise, and safety issues to prevent falls that may result in fractures. In addition, your physician may prescribe a medication to slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce fracture risk.
Therapeutic Medications: Currently, alendronate, raloxifene, risedronate, and ibandronate are approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for preventing and treating postmenopausal osteoporosis. Teriparatide is approved for treating the disease in postmenopausal women and men at high risk for fracture. Estrogen/hormone therapy (ET/HT) is approved for preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis, and calcitonin is approved for treatment. In addition, alendronate is approved for treating osteoporosis in men, and both alendronate and risedronate are approved for use by men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonates - Alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), and ibandronate (Boniva) are medications from the class of drugs called bisphosphonates. Like estrogen and raloxifene, these bisphosphonates are approved for both prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Alendronate is also approved to treat bone loss that results from glucocorticoid medications like prednisone or cortisone and is approved for treating osteoporosis in men. Risedronate is also approved to prevent and treat glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

Alendronate and risedronate have been shown to increase bone mass and reduce the incidence of spine, hip, and other fractures. Ibandronate has been sho
Bisphosphonates should be taken on an empty stomach and with a full glass of water first thing in the morning. It is important to remain in an upright position and refrain from eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes after taking a bisphosphonate.

Side effects for all bisphosphonates include gastrointestinal problems such as difficulty swallowing, inflammation of the esophagus, and gastric ulcer. There have been rare reports of osteonecrosis of the jaw and of visual disturbances with all bisphosphonates.

Raloxifene - Raloxifene (Evista) is approved for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. It is from a class of drugs called Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) that appear to prevent bone loss in the spine, hip, and total body. Raloxifene has beneficial effects on bone mass and bone turnover and can reduce the risk of vertebral fractures. While side effects are not common with raloxifene, those reported include hot flashes and blood clots in the veins, the latter of which is also associated with estrogen therapy. Additional research studies on raloxifene will continue for several more years.

Calcitonin - Calcitonin is a naturally occurring hormone involved in calcium regulation and bone metabolism. In women who are at least 5 years past menopause, calcitonin slows bone loss, increases spinal bone density, and according to anecdotal reports, relieves the pain associated with bone fractures. Calcitonin reduces the risk of spinal fractures and may reduce hip fracture risk as well. Studies on fracture reduction are ongoing. Calcitonin is currently available as an injection or nasal spray. While it does not affect other organs or systems in the body, injectable calcitonin may cause an allergic reaction and unpleasant side effects including flushing of the face and hands, frequent urination, nausea, and skin rash. The only side effect reported with nasal calcitonin is a runny nose.
Teriparatide - Teriparatide (Forteo) is an injectable form of human parathyroid hormone. It is approved for postmenopausal women and men with osteoporosis who are at high risk for having a fracture. Teriparatide stimulates new bone formation in both the spine and the hip. It also reduces the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures in postmenopausal women. In men, teriparatide reduces the risk of vertebral fractures. However, it is not known whether teriparatide reduces the risk of nonvertebral fractures. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, and leg cramps. Teriparatide is approved for use for up to 24 months.
Estrogen/Hormone Therapy - Estrogen/hormone therapy (ET/HT) has been shown to reduce bone loss, increase bone density in both the spine and hip, and reduce the risk of hip and spine fractures in postmenopausal women. ET/HT is approved for preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis and is most commonly administered in the form of a pill or skin patch. When estrogen - also known as estrogen therapy or ET - is taken alone, it can increase a woman's risk of developing cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer). To eliminate this risk, physicians prescribe the hormone progestin - also known as hormone therapy or HT - in combination with estrogen for those women who have not had a hysterectomy. Side effects of ET/HT include vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness, mood disturbances, blood clots in the veins, and gallbladder disease.

The Women's Health Initiative, a large Government-funded research study, recently demonstrated that the drug Prempro, which is used in hormone therapy, is associated with a modest increase in the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and heart attack. The WHI also demonstrated that estrogen therapy is associated with an increase in the risk of stroke. It is unclear whether estrogen therapy is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer or cardiovascular events. A large study from the National Cancer Institute indicated that long-term use of estrogen therapy may be associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. It is unclear whether hormone therapy carries a similar risk.

Any estrogen therapy should be prescribed for the shortest period of time possible. When used solely for the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, any ET/HT regimen should only be considered for women at significant risk of osteoporosis, and nonestrogen medications should be carefully considered first.
Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center