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Osteoporosis and Stress: Causes and Treatment

Updated on October 27, 2017

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, which means "porous bones," is a progressive disease characterized by the gradual loss of the normal density of bone.

This condition causes bones to become porous, which in turn becomes weak and brittle increasing the risk of fractures.

In many cases, bones weaken when you have low levels of calcium and other minerals in your bones.

Bones are made up of protein, collagen and calcium which help to keep them strong and healthy. As you get older, bone formation shifts and bone strength is gradually lost. When there are low levels of calcium, phosphorous and other minerals, bones weaken and osteoporosis develops.

Bone is at it strongest when a person is around age thirty, and thereafter begins to decline. In women, this decline begins to accelerate at menopause. Osteoporosis tends to strike after the age of 50 years.

The decline in bone density that occurs with aging, known as osteoporosis, is responsible for 1.3 million bone fractures per year. One-third of women older than 65 get spinal fractures and 15 percent fracture their hips.

Causes of Osteoporosis

Scientists don't yet know exactly why osteoporosis occurs, but they do know that the normal bone remodeling process is disrupted.

Bone is constantly restoring it self.

Cells called osteoblasts are responsible for making bone, and other cells called osteoclasts, are needed to remove old bone as its minerals are absorbed for use elsewhere in the body.

This process is called remodeling or bone turnover. If the osteoclasts break down the bone more quickly then it is replaced, the bone tends to become less dense and is therefore likely to break more easily.

There are many factors that contribute to bone loss and these include:

  • Decreased estrogen production during menopause
  • Bones weaken in both male and females after the age of 50 years
  • Caucasians and South-East Asians are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Family history of bone fractures and osteoporosis
  • Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol
  • Health conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders
  • Lack of exercise
  • Decreased intake of calcium
  • Excessive intake of soda. Carbonated soft drinks contain a high amount of phosphates. These cause the body to eliminate calcium as the phosphates themselves, even if the calcium must be taken from the bones to do this.
  • Stress and elevated stress hormone cortisol levels.

Stress and Osteoporosis

Elevated cortisol levels resulting from chronic stress have been associated with many diseases. Among other conditions elevated cortisol levels decreases bone density.

The relationship between elevated cortisol levels (chronic stress) and accelerated bone loss of one has been demonstrated in numerous situations, including cases of people with Cushing’s syndrome (where elevated cortisol levels results in severe osteoporosis and arthritis) and anorexia nervosa (where elevated cortisol levels leads to bone and muscle loss).

Studies such as these have also determined that curing the diseases, and thereby removing the source of excess cortisol production (stress), also restore cartilage, bone and muscle tissues.

Experimental studies show that cortisol has bee shown to inhibit the activity of bone building cells - osteoblasts.

Treatment of Osteoporosis | Calcium

In order to protect and strengthen bones and muscles, it is essential have an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D.

Healthy eating for osteoporosis is crucial. Include calcium rich products into your healthy eating plan:

  • dairy products,
  • dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, dandelion greens,
  • dried fruit (apricots or figs),
  • fish such as mackerel, salmon or sardines,
  • soy products and tofu
  • oats
  • sesame seeds, almonds.

In order to fight osteoporosis the elevated use of calcium is highly advisable.

However, upon getting into the body, calcium primarily deposits inside the vessels, which causes serious cardiovascular disorders.

Treatment of Osteoporosis | Soy products

If you are a menopausal r postmenopausal woman with osteoporosis, include plenty of soy products in your diet. Soy is rich in phytoestrogens which may substitute for your own estrogen, if it is manufacturing too little. Estrogen depletion is strongly associated with osteoporosis.

Treatment of Osteoporosis | Best Excersise for Osteoporosis

Exercise regularly and keep active.

A lack of exercise can result in the loss of calcium, but this can be reversed with sensible exercise.

Combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing exercises.

Strength training helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine, and weight-bearing exercises — such as walking, jogging, running, stair climbing, skipping rope, skiing — mainly affect the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine.

Include those activities into your exercise regime to support healthy bones.

Treatment of Osteoporosis | Stress Management

Learning to prevent stress and manage stress will keep your stress hormone cortisol levels normal. (Create your stress management plan for free)

Practicing relaxation techniques such as qigong and biofeedback may also be useful in improving the symptoms of osteoporosis, while also providing great ways to de-stress.


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    • profile image

      Geri 3 years ago

      Your posting is aboulstely on the point!

    • profile image

      Ivalene 3 years ago

      I guess finding useful, reliable intoomafirn on the internet isn't hopeless after all.

    • Inese profile image

      Inese 8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      holmesjenn @ I am glad you find the info useful. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and making it handy to other ladies who probably have no time to read all health, stress ad longevity related info out there on the Internet.

    • holmesjenn profile image

      holmesjenn 8 years ago from Colorado

      Well written hub with lots of information. Thank you. We all need more Ca then we get and this gives different forms to get it in. Great job.