By Ehren Allen, PT, COMT
What does it mean to have osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones lose mineral content. This causes the bones to become more porous and weaker. Some bone loss is normal with age but excessive loss can lead to increase fracture risk. With osteoporosis, the cells that reabsorb bone (osteoclasts) are more prevalent than the cells that produce bone (osteoblasts).
Osteoporosis is more prevalent after menopause in women. The decrease in the amount of sex hormones causes cells that produce bone to die quicker. The diminished sex hormones also allow the cells that reabsorb bone tissue to live longer. This change causes bones tissue to become thinner and weak.
Having osteoporosis means that you have an increased risk of a bone fracture if you fall or get injured. If there is osteoporosis in the spine, the bones in the spine may become thin and lead to abnormal curvatures. This may lead to a hump shaped back. This may also cause pain and lead to other postural issues.
Can you rebuild bone density? Can a person be cured of osteoporosis?
Bone tissue is constantly remodeling. In normal healthy bone, resistance activity such as weight bearing exercising can help to stimulate the bone strengthening process.
Peak bone mass occurs in most females around the late 20s and early 30s. Bone mass decreases from that point but the rate of decline varies.
While there is no cure for osteoporosis, treatments are available which may slow and even increase bone density to some degree.
What is the best treatment for osteoporosis?
There are several methods to treat osteoporosis. Taking calcium supplements is typically recommended due to the loss of mineralization in the bones. Vitamin D is also recommended for most people to help with the absorption of the calcium in the GI system.
Estrogen replacement therapy has been shown to decrease the incidence of fractures after menopause. There are concerns of increased risk of certain types of breast cancer and heart disease with estrogen replacement therapy.
Biophosphates and hormones, such as Calcitonin, can help to slow bone resorption in people with osteoporosis or those at increased risk of osteoporosis. Both have potential side effects that must be considered with a physician.
What foods improve bone density?
A healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important to improve bone density. It is important to start this during childhood. The highest rate of calcium accumulation occurs in the 2nd decade of life. Foods rich in calcium include:
- Collard greens
- Soy beans
Osteoporosis treatments are typically managed by the primary care physician but complications such as fractures may require orthopedic care. If you have complications related to osteoporosis, the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute is here to help. We are offer world class treatment options from conservative physical therapy to advanced orthopedic surgery. Come see us!! Call JOI-2000
By: Ehren Allen PT