Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 28 million Americans, 80% of whom are women. One out of every two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. The impact of osteoporosis will become even more profound as the oldest of the baby boomers approach menopause, the stage of life when the bone loss that leads to osteoporosis begins to accelerate.Osteoporosis (1)
Osteoporosis, the cause of 90% of factures after the age of sixty-five, is responsible for a total 1.5 million fractures annually, including 300,000 hip fractures, 700,000 vertebral fractures, 200,000 wrist fractures, and more than 300,000 fractures at other sites. By the time they reach old age, one-third of all women and one-sixth of all men will have had a hip fracture. Even more disturbing, these hip fractures are fatal 12-20% of the time.
Bones are living tissue, made from calcium, and are constantly changing. They perform tasks that are critical to the functioning of the rest of the body, such as the manufacture of blood and the storage of nutrients, and the bones themselves are constantly being taken apart and rebuilt in a process called remodeling.
Remodeling is when old bone is broken down and replaced with new bone. It is kind of a preventive-maintenance program that is vital for the day-to-day strength of our skeletons. The entire bone remodeling process is under the control the central nervous system.
Bone serves as a “warehouse” or storage site for both calcium and other minerals. When insufficient levels of these minerals exist in the bloodstream, the body takes action by withdrawing minerals from the warehouse. If for any reason the body is using these minerals without replacing them, the result is a steady decrease in bone density. This is called bone loss and results in reduction of bone mass.
Researchers have determined that when bone density falls below a certain point, the bones become extremely prone to fracture. This point of impending injury is called the fracture threshold. If the bone density falls below the fracture threshold, the condition is called osteoporosis.
Causes of Osteoporosis
SYMPOSIA: An interesting example of this process occurs in astronauts. Exposure to the microgravity environment of space causes astronauts to lose calcium from bones. This loss occurs because the absence of Earth’s gravity disrupts the process of bone maintenance in its major function of supporting body weight. Space biomedical researchers have found that exposure to the microgravity environment of space causes men and women of all ages to lose up to 1% of their bone mass per month due to disuse atrophy, a condition similar to osteoporosis.
CORTICOSTEROIDS: Millions of people take corticosteroids for conditions such as asthma, arthritis, shoulder and back pain, lupus, and inflammatory diseases. Research clearly shows that their use is a contributing factor to osteoporosis.
ALCOHOL: Alcohol interferes with the normal process of bone absorption of calcium and vitamin D and diminishes the body’s ability to build and maintain bone mass.
CAFFEINE: Beverages such as coffee, tea and certain colas increase the loss of calcium in the urine. With less calcium in the body for use in bone formation, a negative calcium balance may occur in the blood — resulting in a decrease in bone density mass.
CIGARETTES: In women: Cigarette smoke affects the liver by causing it to convert estrogen into a compound that is different from the normal estrogen used by the body in the bone formation process.
In men: Cigarette smoking reduces the level of the male hormone, testosterone, and decreased testosterone is associated with accelerated loss of bone mass.
NERVOUS SYSTEM STRESS: The nervous system controls the endocrine glands, which secrete hormones into the bloodstream to regulate body chemistry, including the process of bone remodeling.
Interference with bone remodeling — that is, the imbalance between bone formation and bone reabsorption — underlies nearly every disease that influences the skeleton.
POSTURE AND HEALTH: Posture affects and moderates every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production. Abnormal posture is evident in patients with chronic and stress-related illnesses. Homeostasis and nervous system function are ultimately connected with posture.
Osteoporosis and Chiropractic
Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because the weakening of the bones often occurs for years before any kind of symptoms may appear. Chiropractic is an excellent method of prevention and routine spinal exams are essential to a person’s neurological and skeletal health. Chiropractic adjustments restore and maintain the proper structure of the spine. When the spinal column is brought into balance, normal function is restored, and structural degeneration is prevented.
To find out if Specific Chiropractic is right for you call 610-741-6700 and schedule your complementary consultation.