The estimated national direct expenditures (hospitals and nursing homes) for osteoporotic and associated fractures was $13.8 billion in 1995 ($38 million each day) and the cost is rising. Osteoporosis is a silent disease, in which the body’s skeleton loses bone mass at an excessive rate-the bones become fragile and susceptible to fractures from a sudden movement or strain, bump, or fall. Eight million America women and two million men have osteoporosis and millions more have low bone density.
Below are some risk factors:
- Being female
- Advanced age
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Postmenopausal, including early or surgically-induced menopause
- Abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Inactive lifestyle
Typically, osteoporosis is diagnosed via a bone density test. This test shows bone loss which has occurred over the last five years. Although this test is valuable, a urine test gives a picture of what you are losing at any given moment in time. The test is a convenient, cost-effective way to evaluate bone loss and, when done as a follow-up test, can evaluate the effects of natural hormone replacement within 90 days after treatment begins.
Estrogen has been shown to protect women against bone loss and, after menopause, estrogen levels drop dramatically. Women start losing bone mass more rapidly than normal. Numerous studies have shown that estrogen replacement therapy cuts fracture rates by at least 50%. Progesterone and testosterone replacement are also important in maintaining bone health in both men and women.
A sound self-help bone protection program is always the first line of defense for bone health
- Routine exercise regime four or more times per week to include weight resistance and muscle strengthening for bone maintenance.
- Simple dietary changes such as decreasing carbohydrates, soda, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar intake, as well as adding a high protein snack at bedtime.