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Causes and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Updated on January 26, 2011

Osteoporosis is an American epidemic! Just consider these statistics:

  • In the United States, among people 60 years old, 35 per­cent of the women and 10 percent of the men have os­teoporosis.
  • By 70 years of age, 50 percent of all women have brittle bones.
  • Osteoporosis is the cause of 90 percent of all fractures af­ter the age of 65.
  • In women over 65 years old, 50 percent have bone mineral density below the fracture threshold.
  • The average American loses 1 1/2 inches of height each decade after menopause as a result of vertebral collapse.
  • Among those suffering from osteoporosis, 14 percent will die as the result of broken hips.
  • Over a million fractures a year are caused by osteoporosis.
  • At least 40 percent of all people over 60 years of age have lost their teeth to periodontal disease (osteoporosis of the mouth).
  • Osteoporosis is the most common systemic bone disorder in the United States. It affects 15 million people, primarily women, causing thousands of injuries and deaths per year.
  • Over $1 billion a year is spent on treating conditions re­lated to osteoporosis.

What is this disease and what causes it?

What is Osteoporosis?

Literally, osteoporosis means "porous bones"; it is a weaken­ing condition of the bones that results in a slow, insidious loss of calcium. When calcium is pulled from the bones, the amount of bone is reduced and the strength of the remaining bone is severely weakened. Osteoporosis can be regarded as the condition that exists when bone mass has been reduced to such an extent that the skeleton becomes vulnerable to frac­tures arising from minor falls or the stresses of daily activi­ties. One might do something as simple as bend over to tie a shoe or step down some stairs, and a fracture will occur.

Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that starts slowly. For some, it can take hold as early as childhood. For others, it develops in adulthood. In women, it can accelerate after menopause. In men, it accelerates after age 65.

Unlike other bone diseases, osteoporosis is not associated with abnormal bone composition. The bones of osteoporotic people are no different than normal bones. There is simply less of the bone.

Who Develops Osteoporosis?

Those most likely to be afflicted by osteoporosis are post­menopausal women who are Caucasian and of Northern Eu­ropean descent. Others, whose chance for osteoporosis is high, are fair-skinned, petite women; those who smoke; those who drink alcohol and/or coffee; those who take antacids, corticosteroids, or antibiotics; those who do not exercise, are paralyzed, or are bedridden; those who have a history of os­teoporosis in their families; and those who have experienced early menopause, whether naturally or through a hysterec­tomy.

Thin people are more prone to osteoporosis than obese people because overweight people have fat cells, which can turn a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland into estrogen. The more estrogen we have, the less likely we are to get os­teoporosis. Men are less likely to get osteoporosis because they start with a larger bone mass and do not go through the drastic hormonal changes that women face during menstrua­tion and menopause. Black women develop osteoporosis less often because their bones are generally denser to begin with, and it, therefore, takes longer to reach the levels of loss that lead to fractures and disabling pains. Anorexic women, re­gardless of age, are more prone to osteoporosis. They contin­ually upset their body chemistries due to stress, not eating correctly, and not eating enough.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis affects the body in many different ways. The main symptom is a loss of height due to the compression of weakened vertebrae. Other symptoms may include:

  • cramps in the legs and feet at night
  • bone pain
  • lower back pain
  • fractures of the hips, spine, wrists, or other parts of the skeleton
  • dowager's hump, a forward bending of the spine
  • extreme fatigue
  • excess plaque on the teeth
  • periodontal disease
  • rickets
  • brittle or soft fingernails
  • premature grey hair
  • heart palpitations

What Causes Osteoporosis?

My thesis is that an upset body chemistry is the cause of os­teoporosis. When our body chemistries are in balance (ho­meostasis) over decades, we will not get osteoporosis. When our body chemistries are upset continually, when we cannot maintain homeostasis, we are more likely to get degenerative diseases. One of these diseases is osteoporosis.

Our bones are continually undergoing a process of remod­eling. This process involves bone reabsorption, where miner­als are removed from the bones, and bone formation, where minerals are put back into the bones. Osteoporosis occurs when there is too much bone reabsorption and not enough bone formation. The reason that there is not enough bone formation is that we upset our body chemistries. This can cause calcium to be pulled from the bones in order to main­tain a calcium homeostasis in the blood.

This is by no means an irreversible process. The key to stopping osteoporosis lies in a balanced body chemistry and a delicate balance of minerals in the blood that helps the body function optimally.

We will take a look at homeo­stasis, how the body chemistry works, what happens when it is disrupted, and the culprits that cause the disruption. You'll have a complete plan for returning the body to balance and ridding it of the danger of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is completely preventable without drugs, without extensive supplements, and without expensive treat­ments. Once you know how to return your body to its homeostatic balance, osteoporosis can be prevented or arrested. Amazingly, other symptoms such as headaches, arthritis, and skin disorders will also disappear.


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  • Night Magic profile image

    Night Magic 6 years ago from Canada

    Informative hub --- thanks.