When we have osteoporosis our bones have become brittle; we become fragile, weak and prone to fractures. It also means that our physical structure, our skeletal frame and support system, is no longer reliable for movement.
If we are more prone to fractures because of thinning bones and as a result become unstable on our feet, the likelihood of falling and injuring ourselves with each step also increases. So, does it mean that bed rest or restricted movements coupled with long-term hormone replacement therapy are the only answers to a diagnosis of the condition? No; quite the opposite actually. Both diet and exercise play essential roars toward a brighter prognosis.
To understand more about the disease, how it affects our lives and how natural intervention methods are effective, here are some facts:
Osteoporosis is reported to affect 75 million people in Europe, the United States and Japan. One-third of that amount is post-menopausal women and the rest is the elderly (both men and women). Approximately 1.3 million fractures occur in the United States alone as a result of the disease. Osteoporosis is said to be a woman's disease because of the percentage of women affected and the primary causation is reduced levels of estrogen due to the menopause. Only 30% of men are afflicted with the disease, which appears much later on in their lives, typically around the mid-seventies age group. This means that the condition has a distinctly less debilitating effect on men when compared with the sunset in women which occurs approximately 25 years earlier.
It is a scary visual when you think of the description of osteoporosis. It literally means porous bone, and it therefore speaks more to women and their vulnerability to this condition. Women over the age of 45 are considered at high risk, so too are Caucasian and Asian women, and those with a family history of the disease.
Exercise: Any type of repetitive movement helps strengthen bones. If your bones are weak, start with walking, progress to swimming, and then increase your exercise with both low impact and light weights. Weights have a special relationship with building bone and muscle strength, both critical to combat pressure or force. In lifting weights the muscles contract by pulling tendons attached to the bones, and this tells our bones to produce more calcium, then infusing it with the minerals needed to increase density. Several studies have shown that weight bearing exercises can reverse any bone density reduction, even with people in their 80s.
Foods: the same healthy types of food that are recommended for prevention are offered but with more emphasis on calcium rich foods and the elimination of foods and habits that accelerate bone loss. Foods rich in calcium are:
• Sardines and fatty fish (example cod)
• Lots of lightly steamed greens
• High fiber cereals
Legumes and nuts
• Organic soya
Expose yourself to the sun for 15 minutes a day to get your dose of vitamin D (without any sun protection cream), in addition to the foods listed that contain the vitamin. A cod liver oil supplement is excellent for helping calcium absorption due to its vitamin D content. Calcium tablets containing vitamin D are also important for osteoporosis. Take around 1000 mg per day in divided doses, half in the morning and afternoon. Natural oestrogen replacements are also available from Health stores and have been found effective for balancing levels.
Osteoporosis has the potential to restrict our quality of life for the "golden years." A healthy active lifestyle may sound cliché but it is the best that nature intended.