Online Health Articles

Osteoporosis…. Medical Treatment versus Natural Treatment


Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture, particularly of the hip,  spine and wrist.  There are no symptoms, no aches, no pains; just a sudden fracture from what seemed liked incidental contact.  Approximately 1.4 million Canadians suffer from Osteoporosis and included in this group are one in four women over the age of 50 and one in eight men over the age of 50. In Canada we spend $1.3 billion dollars in long-term care facilities and in hospitals treating these fractures. According to the Canadian Osteoporosis Society, by the year 20l8, costs to treat these fractures will escalate to $32.5 billion dollars because of the increase in elderly population.

You would never think of Osteoporosis as a deadly disease such as Cancer or Heart Disease, but it can cause disfigurement, reduction or loss of mobility and decreased independence. Hip fractures are the most common result of this disease. Out of 50,000 hip fractures in Canada, approximately seventy percent were osteoporosis-related. Twenty percent of hip fractures result in death and 50% of hip fractures result in a permanent disability among those who survive. And yet this is a disease of neglect that is totally preventable and in many cases reversible.

As we age it is normal for our body parts to deteriorate. We lose muscle mass, cognitive function, speed, agility and bone mass. These are the normal effects of aging as surely as gravity pulls at our once flexible and erect bodies pulling our body parts lower and lower to the ground. Bone loss in the spine along with the forces of gravity are the reasons why we get shorter as we age. Since there are no symptoms of Osteoporosis, most women usually have a routine bone scan and find that their bone density has decreased. Their physician tells them that they have Osteopenia which they say is a precursor of osteoporosis and they are immediately prescribed drugs such as Didronel, Actonel, Fosamax or Boniva along with a daily regimen of Calcium. This is where the medical profession oversteps its bounds and puts the patient on a slippery downward slope. Osteopenia is not a disease. It is simply a diagnosis of bone loss. Osteopenia that is not treated eventually leads to Osteoporosis.

Bones are fluid structures that are continually remodeled, broken down by cells called osteoclasts and rebuilt by cells called osteoblasts. Bone injuries or microcracks occur all the time from ordinary bone stress. Bone-resorbing osteoclasts remove the damage so that bone-building osteoblasts can fix it. The same process occurs during any kind of fracture caused by a fall or accident and the process takes from 5 to 6 weeks. The interesting part about the way your body builds bone is that muscle stimulation is directly involved in bone stimulation and growth and even a hundred year old woman can still generate new bone. A diagnosis of Osteopenia simply means that you must start some type of daily exercise, walking, biking or swimming combined with some very light weight-bearing exercise. You also want to make sure that you ingest about 1500mg of Calcium daily from your diet or from a combination of calcium supplements and diet. If your body lacks Calcium, it simply removes what it needs from your bones and this will cause further bone deterioration. If you do not do this, you will end up taking drugs for the rest of your life that have some very serious bad effects.

Didronel, Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva are a classification of drugs known as Bisphosponates. They increase bone density by adding minerals to bones. However, they are potent inhibitors of bone resorption, drastically slowing bone regeneration. A recent article by Dr.Susan Ott last March in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicated that long term suppression of bone formation could cause bones to become too brittle or to accumulate micro damages. In one of the studies, of nine patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia who were taking Fosamax and suffered non-traumatic fractures, six of them experienced delayed or no healing of broken bones. Fosamax impaired the healing of the bone and the increase in bone minerals made the bones more brittle. In another study a 59-year-old woman who took Fosamax for six years to treat her Oasteopenia, sustained a broken spine and femur in a subway accident. The injury took two years to heal and it was only when the Fosamax was stopped did the healing process begin. In another study, Joseph Lane, an orthopedic surgeon in New York described hard to heal fractures of the femur in patients who had been on Fosamax for more than five years.

Pharmaceutical companies produce study after study that shows that taking these drugs increases bone density and reduces fractures. The increased mineralization and decreased turnover of bone, which causes an increase in bone density, may very well prevent fractures in a very unnatural way. If you are taking one of these drugs and you suffer a major fracture, you should seriously consider stopping the drug at least until the fracture heals. The other side-effect is the stomach upset or injury to the esophagus. If you cannot stand upright for 30 minutes after taking the drug, you cannot use bisphosphonates. However, if you already have moderate to severe osteoporosis and you are unable to do any type of muscular exercise that can stimulate bone growth, then bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel are your only hope of preventing fractures.

Osteopenia is simply a wake-up call, which occurs, usually in postmenopausal women. This is the mid point of your life. All those fun years of drinking, smoking and eating anything you wanted are over. You may be around for another 40 or 50 years, so it is time to start taking care of yourself. Take a walk, or bicycle or swim for about 45 minutes each day. Buy yourself some small 5-pound weights and do little arm exercises.

Make calcium rich foods a part of your diet or at least take a calcium supplement. Once you turn over your body to a drug for the rest of your life, not only are you dependent on that drug, but also you are now dependent on the whole pharmaceutical industry. Be an independent person. Choose a natural healthy lifestyle over drug dependence.