Osteoporosis

Menstuff® has compiled information and books on the issue of osteoporosis.

What Can My Daughter Do To Avoid Osteoporosis?
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What Can My Daughter Do To Avoid Osteoporosis?


Q: As I get older, I worry about getting osteoporosis. My mother was very frail as an old lady and although she was never diagnosed with osteoporosis, I am sure that her bones were very weak. I don’t want this to happen to me. What can I do?

A: The health of your bones is no joke! Weak bones are prone to fractures which can lead to serious health complications in older women. Clearly, it is important to do everything you can to ensure healthy bones.

Older bones break primarily as a result of osteoporosis, a condition in which bone tissue is destroyed faster than it can be replaced. It occurs in women 10 times as often as in men, with the greatest bone loss occurring during the five to seven years after menopause. By age 60, most women have only three-quarters of the bone mass they had earlier.

The most vulnerable areas are the wrist, the hip (what actually breaks in a hip fracture is not the pelvis but the top of the femur, the long leg bone that runs from the knee to the pelvis), and the spinal column. Osteoporotic women often have a series of small fractures of the vertebrae, which they sometimes interpret as bad backaches. These fractures result in compression of the spinal column and loss of height. Or they may get "dowager's hump," a curvature of the spine at the shoulders.

The following risk factors increase a woman's chances of getting osteoporosis:

If you fall into two or more of these categories, you should be especially diligent about taking measures to avoid or at least reduce the severity of the disease. Osteoporosis cannot be cured, but physicians have had remarkable success in slowing down the degenerative process with hormone therapy, diet and exercise.

Estrogen is by far the most effective way to control osteoporosis. Estrogen can't restore bone that has already been lost, but it can prevent the accelerated loss that occurs during the first few years after menopause. However, hormone replacement therapy is not a solution for all women. So be sure to talk to your doctor about alternative methods.

Diet

Getting adequate dietary calcium, of course, is an obvious step towards healthier bones. How much calcium do you need?

Rather than trying to ward off bone loss with supplements once menopause has started, women should make sure their diet always contains plenty of calcium-rich foods. Your bones need a lifetime of care and attention.

Exercise

Exercise helps to slow down or prevent osteoporosis. Young, growing bones show measurable increases in mass in response to heavy exercise and dietary calcium. Young girls should be encouraged to eat a diet with adequate calcium and to get some type of physical activity – whether it’s through participating in organized sports, having fun with friends, or exercising on their own. By exercising and getting enough calcium, a young woman at maturity will achieve maximum bone growth and density.

After the skeleton has reached maturity, around 25 years of age, heavy exercise does little to augment bone mass. However, moderate exercise does protect against fractures. Exercise stimulates the activity of the osteoblasts, the cells that make bone, while slowing down the osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone. Thus, while not growing larger, bone may become denser.

Additionally, exercise increases muscle mass, and a heavier layer of muscle better protects bones when falls occur. People who have regularly exercised throughout their lives have fewer bone fractures than those who haven't. They are more agile and use their muscles better to keep from falling.

What kind of exercise is best? Any exercise that tugs and pulls on bones stimulates increased calcium deposition. In essence, when bone is constantly subjected to a "tug-of-war," demineralization is slowed and re-calcification is speeded up. Weight-bearing activity such as walking, jogging or aerobics are good choices. You will also want to do resistance exercises such as weight lifting.

For the woman who has beginning or advanced osteoporosis, a repetitive activity such as running may be detrimental. She should do exercises that don't do too much of the same thing, are of low to moderate intensity, and include stretching and back exercises.

For more information on osteoporosis: visit the encyclopedia. www.healthcentral.com/mhc/top/000360.cfm?

Newsbytes


Acid Reflux Drugs May Boost Fractures


These drugs are in millions of medicine cabinets. Is their popularity leading to future problems?
Source: www.webmd.com/content/article/131/117904.htm?ecd=wnl_gid_010407

Fruit May Fight Osteoarthritis


Could osteoarthritis be brought to its knees by a simple fruit? Researchers aren't making that claim just yet, but they have found signs that a certain fruit may thwart osteoarthritis.
Source: my.webmd.com/content/article/111/110101.htm

Inflammation Of Tissue Lining Joints Among Patients With Osteoarthritis Of The Knee And Hip


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the world's most common form of joint disease, primarily affecting the elderly. According to experts, up to 50 percent of America's baby boomers - men and women over age 50 - may be affected. A degenerative illness, OA is characterized by cartilage damage, pain, stiffness, and sometimes disability. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, a joint disease that affects young adults, it is not generally thought that inflammation causes OA.
Source: Arthritis and Rheumatism, www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC255/333/9247/367611.html?d=dmtICNNews

Fracture Treatment Differs


Few older men with hip fractures indicative of osteoporosis are tested or treated for the bone-thinning disease, which puts them at risk for debilitating illness and death, a study suggests.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC000/333/333/357350.html

Men With Osteoporosis Often Overlooked (10/27/02)


Men are far less likely than women to receive treatment for bone loss after suffering a hip fracture, an injury that could be potentially fatal, a new survey reveals. Researchers led by Gary M. Kiebzak of Baylor College of Medicine analyzed the medical records of 110 men and 253 women who were hospitalized for hip fractures and found men with osteoporosis were overlooked repeatedly. Bone mineral density among men was "just one of those things that we didn't look at before," Kiebzak told United Press International.
Source: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_10059.html

FDA OKs Device To Treat Back Pain


The government has approved sales of a device that could radically change surgery for certain back pain sufferers - because it carries a genetically engineered drug to spur bone growth.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/333/7228/352078.html

High Protein Diet Along With Calcium And Vitamin D Increases Bone Mineral Density


Previous studies have suggested different effects of high or low protein diets on urinary loss of calcium and bone health. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dawson-Hughes and Harris explored the associations between dietary protein intake and change in bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk in a group of elderly subjects.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/325/8015/347663.html

Male Hip Fractures to Double


Osteoporosis affects 1 in 12 men over the age of 50 in the UK, according to experts at the National Osteoporosis Society's recent Osteoporosis in Men conference. With the ageing population, male hip fractures are set to double in the UK over the next 50 years. Many men diagnosed with the condition feel uninformed and isolated, not because the condition is rare in men but rather because it is often regarded as a women's disease. Men Talk Dr Terry O'Neill, senior lecturer at the University of Manchester's Arthritis Research Centre estimated that approximately £200 million is spent every year on treating male hip fractures in the UK.

Low estrogen levels in men linked to osteoporosis


It's well-established that declining estrogen levels put women at increased risk for osteoporosis, an often-disabling disease marked by the loss of bone density. www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=46099&src=n45

Fatty diet could lead to thin bones


A fat-laden diet could lead not only to obesity and heart disease but to the thinning, fragile bones of osteoporosis, researchers said. Mice fed a high-fat diet for seven months, less than half their life span, lost dramatic amounts of mineral!s from their bones, a team at the University of California Los Angeles reported. www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=46195&src=n87

Hormone replacement brings benefits and risks


Women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are 40% less likely to have a heart attack than those not taking hormones, a large new study suggests. However, some of these women, specifically those taking estrogen and progesting in combination, had an increased risk of stroke. www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=46096&src=n87

Low estrogen levels in men linked to osteoporosis


It's well-established that declining estrogen levels put women at increased risk for osteoporosis, an often-disabling disease marked by the loss of bone density. www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=46099&src=n87

Get your calcium!


Our bones are at the core of our body, literally -- the skeleton supports our every move. So vital is the health of this core, that you should not overlook taking care of it. www.healthcentral.com/FitorFat/FitorFatfulltext.cfm?ID=41286&storytype=CBTips

Is osteoporosis preventable?


Adequate calcium supplementation is the mainstay of preventing osteoporosis and adequate weight-bearing exercise is important too. Calcium is readily available as calcium carbonate or calcium citrate tablets. It’s not expensive and probably cheaper than the equivalent amount of calcium in dairy products. www.healthcentral.com/Bes!tDoctors/BestDoctorsFullText.cfm?ID=34352&storytype=BestDocs

How Extensive Is The Medical And Social Impact Of Osteoporosis? (5/22/00)


An elderly woman is probably more likely to die –- indirectly, from the complications of osteoporosis than those of breast cancer.

Osteoporosis is a national epidemic. Each year, at least 30 billion dollars are spent in this country on the treatment of osteoporotic fractures.

As a nation we put a disproportionate amount of resources into heart and lung diseases because most people don’t think of osteoporosis as a serious illness.

An elderly female who ends up in the hospital with a bone fracture can develop infections, blood clots, blood loss, and surgical complications, possibly leading to permanent disability, stroke, heart attack or death.

After a fracture, older people often don’t mend completely. Sometimes due to new disabilities caused by the fracture, they can’t return home, and are placed permanently in a nursing home. Osteoporosis often precipitates fatalities.

A patient of mine, who was in her 60s, recently died partly due to complications of severe osteoporosis that had compressed her spine to the point of constricting her lungs so that her lung capacity was cut in half. As a result, she developed pneumonia frequently

Like hypertension, osteoporosis is a silent disease. Just as someone doesn’t feel high blood pressure, a person doesn’t feel thin bones.

Until posture starts to settle or a trivial fall causes a fracture, osteoporosis may go undiagnosed. By then, opportunities for preventative therapy has been lost.

www.healthcentral.com/bestdoctors/bestdoctorsfulltext.cfm?id=34360&StoryType=BestDocs

Why Am I Getting Shorter? (10/14/99)


Keith: I am 63 and in good health, but I have lost more than 2 inches in height over the last 15 years. Is that normal?

Dr. Dean: Assuming you are standing up straight and not hunching over, two plus inches is a bit much.

As we age, some height loss is to be expected. The spine is made of a stack of vertebrae with a little cushioning between each one. It's like cans of peas with foam rubber pads in between the cans. The foam rubber wears thin over time, and the whole tower of peas sinks a little lower.

Since your loss is more than we'd expect, I want you to check with your doctor or orthopedist to make sure that you are not suffering from excessive osteoporosis. Osteoporosis - thinning of the bones - creeps up on most of us without our knowing it. And while it affects women as a whole more than it affects men, men are afflicted with it too.

The next time you visit your doctor, tell him or her that you want to know why you've gotten so much shorter. Ask for a bone density study to test for osteoporosis. Doctors would be crazy to ignore a direct request like that. If the disease is discovered through injury or worsened symptoms six months down the road, there'd be trouble.

If you are hunched, individual vertebrae could be collapsing and causing curvature. It's as if I crushed each can of peas about an 1/8 of an inch. If I then piled up eight of them, they would have lost an inch in height.

Most likely, you're just not standing up as straight as you should be, Keith, or sorry to say, your tower of peas is caving in a little. www.healthcentral.com/drdean/deanfulltexttopics.cfm?id=19253

Osteoporosis drug also works in men (8/31/00)


A drug used to treat osteoporosis in women works just as well in men who have the brittle-bone disease, a study found.

Men account for 20 percent of the 10 million people with osteoporosis, but there are no osteoporosis drugs approved for general use in men.

The latest research, reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, is the first large study of men given an osteoporosis drug.

"We perceive it as a women's disease and have totally ignored the fact that a lot of men are affected," said one of the researchers, Dr. Eric Orwoll of the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore.

Osteoporosis weakens bones and leads to painful and crippling fractures. It afflicts an estimated 8 million women and 2 million men in the United States, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Men are at less risk because they have larger, stronger bones and do not suffer the bone loss experienced by women after menopause. The risk factors for men include low testosterone levels, medications such as steroids, smoking, heavy drinking and lack of exercise.

In the study, researchers found that the drug Fosamax, also known as alendronate, was equally effective in men and women in increasing bone density, reducing fractures of the spine and preventing decreases in height.

Orwoll said the researchers expected to see comparable results.

"But the fact that the results were so similar -- that there was absolutely no difference between the genders -- is surprising," he said.

The two-year study involved 241 men ages 31 to 87 who have osteoporosis. One hundred forty-six received a daily dose of Fosamax; 95 got a dummy pill. All participants were also given calcium and vitamin D.

In the Fosamax group, bone density increased 7 percent in the spine; 3 percent in the hip; and 2 percent overall. Those who took a dummy pill had a 2 percent increase in bone density in the spine but no significant change in the hip or whole body.

There were fewer spine fractures in the Fosamax group (0.8 percent) than in the comparison group (7 percent). Height decreased by 0.09 inches in the comparison group, while the decrease in the Fosamax group was 0.02 inches.

Dr. C. Conrad Johnston Jr., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, said the study is good news for men who have osteoporosis, which he said is underdiagnosed in both men and women.

"Certainly any man who has a fragility fracture -- just like any woman -- ought to be evaluated because they could well have osteoporosis," he said. "And now we know drugs work as well in men as they do in women."

Merck & Co., which makes Fosamax and funded the study, is seeking approval of Fosamax for treating osteoporosis in men.

Fosamax was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995 for postmenopausal osteoporosis and is the top-selling osteoporosis drug. Fosamax and another drug, Actonel, are approved for osteoporosis caused by steroid use in both men and women.

New England Journal of Medicine: www.nejm.org
National Osteoporosis Foundation: www.nof.org www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?id=40522&StoryType=APNews

What Can My Daughter Do To Avoid Osteoporosis? (9/12/00)


Q: As I get older, I worry about getting osteoporosis. My mother was very frail as an old lady and although she was never diagnosed with osteoporosis, I am sure that her bones were very weak. I don’t want this to happen to me. What can I do?

A: The health of your bones is no joke! Weak bones are prone to fractures which can lead to serious health complications in older women. Clearly, it is important to do everything you can to ensure healthy bones.

Older bones break primarily as a result of osteoporosis, a condition in which bone tissue is destroyed faster than it can be replaced. It occurs in women 10 times as often as in men, with the greatest bone loss occurring during the five to seven years after menopause. By age 60, most women have only three-quarters of the bone mass they had earlier.

The most vulnerable areas are the wrist, the hip (what actually breaks in a hip fracture is not the pelvis but the top of the femur, the long leg bone that runs from the knee to the pelvis), and the spinal column. Osteoporotic women often have a series of small fractures of the vertebrae, which they sometimes interpret as bad backaches. These fractures result in compression of the spinal column and loss of height. Or they may get "dowager's hump," a curvature of the spine at the shoulders.

The following risk factors increase a woman's chances of getting osteoporosis:

If you fall into two or more of these categories, you should be especially diligent about taking measures to avoid or at least reduce the severity of the disease. Osteoporosis cannot be cured, but physicians have had remarkable success in slowing down the degenerative process with hormone therapy, diet and exercise.

Estrogen is by far the most effective way to control osteoporosis. Estrogen can't restore bone that has already been lost, but it can prevent the accelerated loss that occurs during the first few years after menopause. However, hormone replacement therapy is not a solution for all women. So be sure to talk to your doctor about alternative methods.

Diet

Getting adequate dietary calcium, of course, is an obvious step towards healthier bones. How much calcium do you need?

Rather than trying to ward off bone loss with supplements once menopause has started, women should make sure their diet always contains plenty of calcium-rich foods. Your bones need a lifetime of care and attention.

Exercise

Exercise helps to slow down or prevent osteoporosis. Young, growing bones show measurable increases in mass in response to heavy exercise and dietary calcium. Young girls should be encouraged to eat a diet with adequate calcium and to get some type of physical activity – whether it’s through participating in organized sports, having fun with friends, or exercising on their own. By exercising and getting enough calcium, a young woman at maturity will achieve maximum bone growth and density.

After the skeleton has reached maturity, around 25 years of age, heavy exercise does little to augment bone mass. However, moderate exercise does protect against fractures. Exercise stimulates the activity of the osteoblasts, the cells that make bone, while slowing down the osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone. Thus, while not growing larger, bone may become denser.

Additionally, exercise increases muscle mass, and a heavier layer of muscle better protects bones when falls occur. People who have regularly exercised throughout their lives have fewer bone fractures than those who haven't. They are more agile and use their muscles better to keep from falling.

What kind of exercise is best? Any exercise that tugs and pulls on bones stimulates increased calcium deposition. In essence, when bone is constantly subjected to a "tug-of-war," demineralization is slowed and re-calcification is speeded up. Weight-bearing activity such as walking, jogging or aerobics are good choices. You will also want to do resistance exercises such as weight lifting.

For the woman who has beginning or advanced osteoporosis, a repetitive activity such as running may be detrimental. She should do exercises that don't do too much of the same thing, are of low to moderate intensity, and include stretching and back exercises.

For more information on osteoporosis: visit the encyclopedia. www.healthcentral.com/mhc/top/000360.cfm?

Osteoporosis under-diagnosed in men


Typical osteoporosis screening is another example of the need for gender-based research and health outreach. Based of guidelines for the female body, traditional osteoporosis screening fails to diagnose most cases in men. One study found that the traditional screening method correctly diagnosed only 17% of men with osteoporosis, overlooking 83% of men with the condition. Osteoporosis is also of concern for men who are receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

Source: http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/osteomen.pdf

Resources



Medlineplus Health Information
, from the National Library of Medicine has an exemplary collection of information. This grouping is composed of articles from the NIH, and offers overviews, clinical trials, diagnosis, symptoms, prevention, treatment, and research. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/osteoporosis.html

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