Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

This is a crippling disease affecting both men and women caused by a lack of calcium. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a person’s bones to become thin and weak. Possible problems to watch for are hip fractures, blood clots or pneumonia. Women are usually more susceptible to this disease as their bones are lighter and less dense. And among women, usually osteoporosis affects fair and small people.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

The condition may cause no symptoms at all or alternatively these may occur:

  • Backache.
  • A gradual loss of height and a stooped back.
  • Fractures and breaks occur easily.
  • Loss of bone in the jaw.

What are the Causes of Osteoporosis?

The most common cause is age. From about 35 years of age onwards, all people’s bone structure changes and becomes less dense. There are debates continuing about triggers which speed up the process of bone deterioration. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to minimise the likelihood of it occurring. Poor bone formation from childhood & calcium intake Increased bone loss due to sensitivity to the parathyroid hormone. At menopause, the fall in oestrogen lessens the amount of calcium drawn from the nutrients you eat. A diet high in protein from flesh foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes and salt. It is possible for you to have your bones tested and this is highly recommended for people of all ages. Ask our pharmacist about this.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Osteoporosis

Conventional treatment centres around drugs and physical supports. Your doctor may prescribe certain pain killers to ease the discomfort, as well as hot compresses and easy massage. However, to prevent it in the first place, your doctor may recommend you go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Studies have shown that women who take long-term HRT within a few years of menopause keep their bone density and have fewer hip and wrist fractures while they are taking it than women who do not. As a preventive measure your doctor may suggest that you increase the amount of calcium in your diet or perhaps take calcium supplements along with Vitamin D. Also low impact exercise is usually recommended to keep your bones supple and too much weight off them.

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Osteoporosis

Like conventional techniques, alternative therapies focus on building and retaining strong bones. Chinese Herbs – Chinese practitioners recommend several herbs for preventing bone loss – the most popular are dong quai (Angelica sinensis) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). You will need professional advice for appropriate dosages. Exercise – Studies have shown that exercises reduce bone loss and help prevent osteoporosis. Herbal Therapies – Herbalists believe that the use of some herbs can help slow the progression of this condition. Herbs traditionally used for the prevention of osteoporosis include horsetail (Equisetum arvense), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), and sourdock (Rumex crispus). Ask about progesterone creams made from the wild Mexican yam; they may stimulate bone formation. Homeopathy – In addition to a calcium-rich diet and exercise, homeopaths recommend treatments they believe help the body absorb calcium. Remedies are likely to include Calcarea carbonica, Calcarea phosphorica, Calcarea fluorica, and Silica. You will need professional assistance for remedies and dosages.