Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a bone disease which usually develops over many years without any major symptoms in the early stages. The first signs of osteoporosis include loss of height, developing a curved upper back (termed as Dowager's hump), back pain, or broken bones. In time, the bones become progressively porous, brittle, and fragile; they fracture easily under simple stresses that would not break normal, healthy bone. Fracture risk increases with increasing age and is greatest in Caucasian women. Postural changes occur as a result of the relaxation of the abdominal muscles and a protruding abdomen. Many people with osteoporosis also often complain of fatigue.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Gender, race, genetics, aging, low body weight, nutrition, lifestyle choices (e.g. smoking, caffeine, consumption of carbonated soft drinks and alcohol), and physical activity are the key factors in the development of osteoporosis. Women have a four times higher risk to develop osteoporosis than men, and it is more common during the postmenopausal period due to the decreasing levels of estrogen. Risk factors include family history of osteoporosis, lack of weight-bearing exercise, slender body frame, and Asian or European heritage. Women who smoke or drink are also at greater risk. Hyperthyroidism (elevated thyroid hormone) may also be a precipitating factor of osteoporosis.
How to Prevent Osteoporosis
As we grow older, our skeletal system degenerates making our bones weak and prone to fracture. However, if you start living a healthy lifestyle early in your life, you may be able to interrupt the development of this disease. Here are some ways to prevent your chances of developing osteoporosis:
- Get regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs, dancing, or weight lifting. Weight-bearing exercise helps keep bones strong and decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Both are needed for building healthy, strong bones. You can get a boost of Vitamin D by drinking fortified milk or by spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun each day (if you have a dark skin, you will need more time in the sun). Take supplements of calcium and vitamin D if you are not getting enough in your diet.
- Don't smoke.
- Limit your alcohol intake to 1 drink per day or less.
- Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine increases calcium loss from your body and puts you at risk for osteoporosis.
- There are medications, including estrogen, which can help prevent osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether these are ideal for you.
Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Osteoporosis
Recent studies have found that women who were given regular potassium supplements were better able to absorb calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones. Bananas are a natural source of potassium, so they are highly recommended to reduce the risks of osteoporosis. Other potassium rich foods include milk, yogurt, chicken, fish, turkey, celery, spinach carrots, and tomatos.
Many people may find this to be surprising, but broccoli is an excellent source of calcium, which is important for maintaining strong and healthy bones. An added benefit is that broccoli is also high in Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Broccoli is also high in fiber, which helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity and colon cancer. Therefore, regularly adding broccoli to your diet is a fantastic way to prevent osteoporosis as well as a number of other health conditions.
Some preliminary studies have found that the omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D content in fish oil supplements may help increase bone mineral density. A simple osteoporosis remedy is to take 1000mg of Fish Oil once daily with a meal.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has been found to help release calcium and other minerals found in the foods that you consume, particularly green vegetables. Therefore, as a preventative measure against osteoporosis, a suggestion is to add 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to a large glass of water, and drink this once each morning.