It’s a notable sign of the times when a prominent actress promotes a bisphosphonate pill or injection to treat osteoporosis in advertisements. Then comes the long list of side effects, including bone fractures and osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by further dismantling of the bone tissue due to the medication itself.
In the very aged perhaps this approach is appropriate for severe osteoporosis. But for most people there is much more that can be done to facilitate prevention and reversal of osteoporosis.
What is Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?
The World Health Organization defines osteopenia and osteoporosis by a calculation (T score) for bone fracture risk using a low radiation Xray, or DXA scan. A healthy bone density is defined as a T score above -1.0. The diagnosis of osteopenia is defined as a T score between -1.0 and -2.5. Osteoporosis is defined as a T score of -2.5 and lower.
Osteoporosis is a silent epidemic. Unless your bone density is tested you may not be aware of bone fragility until you fracture a bone. There is a significant correlation of cardiovascular disease
and osteoporosis of the hip. This is due to the decline of blood flow to the hip because small arteries supplying the hip are compromised.
When should I have my first bone density or DXA Scan to evaluate if I am at risk for osteopenia or osteoporosis?
We advocate getting a baseline bone density or DXA test in peri menopausal years for women or if there is a sustained chronic illness, decrease in height or weight, prolonged use of medications like prednisone orally or inhaled, history of major bone fractures or signs of weakening bone like a forward curvature of the upper spine.
What causes bone loss resulting in the diagnosis of Osteopenia and then Osteoporosis?
Bone is living tissue like your muscles, heart, brain, lungs, and other organs. It can be depleted when the body requires nutrients from it for maintaining other tissues and acid/alkaline balances.
Did you know if you aren’t absorbing nutrients from your digestive tract, you must borrow nutrients from your bones? Also if you aren’t replacing nutrients used with strenuous exercise like running marathons, many nutrients required to sustain your body will be drawn from your bones.
The following are osteopenia and osteoporosis contributing factors that are carefully assessed: poor nutrition during any time of life, the consumption of sugar, sodas, caffeine and alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating disorders, chronic inflammatory diseases(link), bowel disease(link), too little or too much exercise, hormonal imbalances (including thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and sex hormones)(link) and multiple medications which inhibit bone growth like prednisone, stomach acid inhibitors and more.
How do I reverse Osteopenia or Osteoporosis and build new bone?
First you must make a commitment to change your lifestyle and habits. After carefully assessing the factors that have contributed to your osteopenia or osteoporosis, we take a comprehensive approach to help you rebuild your bone density. The foundation for restoring bone is an anti-inflammatory diet(link) as well as daily therapeutic resistance exercises. We then prescribe necessary nutrients(link), optimize hormone function(link), and heal digestion(link) and other disease processes.
Periodic blood, urine and bone density tests are necessary to monitor your progress and make sure we are successfully promoting your bone restoration. (link to lab tests)
A Whole Person Approach to Treating Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
You have the power within you to heal and you can restore your bone density with a plan and treatment to support your personal healing requirements. We at North Coast Family Health are here to help you restore and maintain healthy bones.