What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, the most common of bone diseases, thins and weakens your bones, leading to an increased risk of fracture. This process occurs when your body fails to form enough new bone, or too much old bone is reabsorbed, or both. The leading causes of osteoporosis include a decrease in estrogen levels in women at the time of menopause, and a decrease in testosterone levels in men over 70. Other risk factors include:
- being confined to a bed
- a small body frame
- eating disorders (such as anorexia or bulimia)
- high alcohol consumption
- medical conditions that affect calcium absorption (e.g. celiac and Crohn's diseases)
- poor eating habits
- prescription medications such as steroids, diuretics and anticonvulsants
- cigarette smoking
Symptoms you may experience with osteoporosis include bone pain and tenderness, increased susceptibility to bone fracture, decreased height, low back pain, neck pain, and kyphosis (stooped posture).
Your doctor will need to do a number of tests to determine if in fact you have osteoporosis, and to what degree. These tests include special tests to determine your bone density, and if your case is severe you may also need a CT scan and/or X-rays, along with blood and urine tests to see if your osteoporosis is secondary to another disease such as those listed above.
Conventional treatment, once diagnosed, usually includes attempts to manage the pain, along with medication intended to either promote bone development or slow the rate of bone loss. Diet modification and adherence to an exercise program are also usually recommended.
How can natural health care help with osteoporosis?
To prevent and treat osteoporosis, natural health care can play a major role. Nutritional counselling is very helpful in determining which supplements (in addition to calcium and Vitamin D) and foods to add to your diet. Yoga is a perfect exercise to engage in, as it provides weight bearing activity that uses your own body weight, and a good teacher can ensure that you maintain proper form throughout your workout. Acupuncture and TCM can help improve bone density and regulate hormone levels, thus stemming the progress of the disease or helping prevent it in the first place. Massage therapy can help resolve stress that may be exacerbating some of your pain.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage your symptoms of osteoporosis.
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