Osteoporosis is a complex medical condition that results in thinning and weakening of bone. Osteoporosis may be defined empirically as the decrease in bone mass density, relative to normal values, at a particular age in life. Resulting in weaker bone, the patient with osteoporosis will have a weakened skeletal system, resulting in bone structure that has a higher risk of fracture. This problem of the bone relates to the structural inability to adequately support body weight. Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease characterized by decreased bone mass, weakened bone tissue leading to increased risk of bone fractures. Women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years following menopause, meaning them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can be divided into two arbitrary categories.
- Type I osteoporosis occurs in post-menopausal women, and is due to estrogen deficiency.
- Type II osteoporosis occurs in both men and women (about two times more frequently in women), and is due to aging and calcium deficiency over many years.
Both men and women achieve their peak bone mass, that is, greatest bone density, during the third decade of life. Bone mass then steadily decreases with age. Rates of bone density decrease increase in pregnant women and lactating women, as the rate of bone will temporarily increase due to the increased calcium demands of pregnancy or breastfeeding. These effects may be mitigated by the administration of increased dietary intake of calcium.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and become more likely to break (fracture). If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone crushes or breaks. These fractures occur most commonly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Any bone can be affected, but fractures of the spine and hip are of greatest concern. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men.
In the United States, 10 million individuals already have this disease. Almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass (density), thereby placing them at increased risk. Eighty percent of those with osteoporosis are women. Of people older than 50 years, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 8 men are predicted to have an osteoporosis related-fracture in their lifetime. The prevalence of osteoporosis among post menopausal white women is 14 percent in those aged 50-59 years, 22 percent in those aged 60-69 years, 39 percent in those aged 70-79 years, and 70 percent in those aged 80 years and older. Significant risk has been reported in people of all ethnic backgrounds, but white and Asian racial groups are at a somewhat increased risk.
Osteoporosis develops asymptomatically. The first clinical sign can be a sudden back pain resulting from an otherwise minor trauma. After sudden movement, strain, bump, accident or fall, a vertebra may fracture or collapse. It is the wedge-shaped compression fracture of the spine that causes the commonly seen spinal deformities, known as “Dowager’s lump,” kyphosis or stooped posture.[separator style_type=”shadow” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”#0a0a0a” icon=”fa-flask” width=”” class=”” id=””]
Risk Factors of Osteoporosis:
- History of fracture after age 50
- Low bone mass (density)
- History of fracture in a close relative
- Females are at greater risk than males
- Thin/Small frame
- Risk increases with age
- Positive family history for Osteoporosis
- Estrogen deficiency
- Total Hysterectomy
- Abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
- Eating disorders including anorexia nervosa
- Low dietary calcium intake
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Use of certain medications (corticosteroids, chemotherapy, anticonvulsants, diuretics, and others)
- Low testosterone levels in men and women
- An inactive lifestyle
- Current cigarette smoking
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Caucasian and Asians are at the greatest risk, although African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are at significant risk as well
Strontium is a naturally occurring element that forms an important function in the formation and maintenance of bone matrix. Strontium wasting can be observed in otherwise healthy individuals. Hair analysis can be performed in persons with osteoporosis or in those persons at risk for the development of osteoporosis, and elevated levels of strontium will be detected. As with many other “trace minerals,” strontium is, or should be found, in our grain. As the fields are cropped repeatedly, strontium, along with zinc, selenium, vanadium, chromium, boron and the like, are gradually depleted. Replacement of this inexpensive element into our diet can arrest the progression of osteoporosis, and in many persons, actually reverse a good bit of the damage.
Strontium is element number 38 on the periodic table of elements. It was discovered in 1808 and was named after Strontium, a town in Scotland. Strontium is one of the most abundant elements on earth, comprising about 0.04 percent of the earths crust. At a concentration of 400 parts per million, there is more strontium in the earth’s crust than carbon. Strontium is also the most abundant trace element in seawater, at a concentration of 8.1 parts per million. The human body contains about 320 mg of strontium, nearly all of which is in bone and connective tissue.
Because of its chemical similarity to calcium, strontium can replace calcium to some extent in various biochemical processes in the body, including replacing a small proportion of the calcium in hydroxyapatite crystals of calcified tissues such as bones and teeth. Strontium in these crystals imparts additional strength to these tissues. Strontium appears to draw extra calcium into bones. When rats or guinea pigs are fed increased amounts of strontium, their bones and teeth became thicker and stronger.[separator style_type=”shadow” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”#0a0a0a” icon=”fa-flask” width=”” class=”” id=””]
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Dr. David Klein has practiced pain medicine for the past 25 years and is the author of over 50 published articles and textbook chapters and has lectured extensively. He is a member of the American Board of Anesthesiology, American Board of Pain Medicine, American Academy of Pain Management, American Board of Minimally Invasive Medicine & Surgery, and has subspecialty certification in pain by the American Board of Anesthesiologists.