The Pediatric Disease with Geriatric Consequences: Osteoporosis
By Dr. Sacha Elliott • April 18th, 2012 • 4828 Views
Osteoporosis is a scary disease to be labeled with. Our bones are made of living tissue that is in a constant state of flux - breaking down and building up to repair itself. If this tissue breaks down and is not replaced with newer, equally strong tissue, the result is osteoporosis.
Close to a quarter of those who have a hip fracture due to brittle, porous bones (part of what defines osteoporosis) will die within a year. It is generally thought to be a disease of the elderly, but can strike at any age, and, as we start losing bone in our mid-30’s, it is a prime example how we should be using preventative medicine in childhood to optimize our peak bone mass in adolescence.
This condition is diagnosed when bone mass falls 25 per cent below normal, leading to increases in fractures, disfigurement, lowered self-esteem, and a loss of mobility and independence. The most common tool of diagnosis is a bone mineral density (BMD) test called a DEXA scan. This test is recommended for postmenopausal women over 65 years of age or those under 65 years of age with significant risk factors.
Osteoporosis has been on the rise in North America in the last few decades. At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime.
So, what is happening here?
It leaves me asking the following questions: why is our food so deplete in vital minerals? Why has our diet drastically changed in the last 50-100 years from the whole, real foods our great grandparents grew, cooked, and consumed? How do we reverse and prevent the common mal-absorption issues that obstruct the body from utilizing nutrients to build strong bones? As a naturopathic doctor, I feel it’s my duty and responsibility to dig deeper and find the cause of the disease rather than simply treating the symptoms.
Osteoporosis is much more common in affluent parts of the world that have developed the unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle common in North America. Women are less likely to develop osteoporosis if they’ve had multiple pregnancies, do physical labor and frequent physical activity, eat a predominantly vegetarian diet, and have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) (one disease in which being overweight is protective!)
Osteoporosis is largely preventable. The best thing we can do for our youth is to encourage them to participate in sports and ensure they’re getting adequate...
Nutrition, Wellness, bone density, osteoporosis, bone health, old age, calcium supplements