Osteoporosis & Homeopathy
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because you can’t feel your bones getting weaker. Breaking a bone is often the first sign that you have osteoporosis or you may notice that you are getting shorter or your upper back is curving forward. It is important to take care of your bones throughout your life to maintain good bone health even when you age.
It is usually asymptomatic until fractures occur. It is characterised by decrease in amount of bone present to a level below which it is capable of maintaining structural integrity of skeleton. Bone cells fail to replace new bone as fast as it is reabsorbed in ongoing cycle of bone reformation and resorption. These fractures, which are often the first sign of the disease, can affect any bone, but the most common locations are the hip, spine, and wrist.
Risk Factors of Osteoporosis
Uncontrollable Risk Factors
- Age is the main risk factor for osteoporosis. Aging causes bones to thin and weaken. Although osteoporosis affects mostly postmenopausal women, older men are also at risk.
- Family history of osteoporosis.
- Low body weight/being small and thin.
- Broken bones or height loss.
Controllable Risk Factors
- Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D - Without calcium, rebuilding of new bone during the lifelong process of bone remodelling is not possible. Constant level of calcium is needed in blood since many of organs, especially heart, muscles, and nerves, depend on calcium. When these organs demand calcium, they’ll steal it from the mineral storehouse in your bones. Over time, as mineral reservoir in the bones is depleted, it ends up in thin, brittle bones. Vitamin D helps body to absorb and use calcium. Too little vitamin D can lead to weak bones and increased bone loss.
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
- Getting too much caffeine, carbonated drinks and sodium - Caffeine leaches calcium from bones, sapping their strength; many soft drinks and certain other carbonated drinks contain phosphoric acid, which can increase calcium excretion in your urine. And nearly all soft drinks lack calcium; regular table salt, not simply sodium, causes calcium loss, weakening bones with time.
- Having an inactive lifestyle.
- Drinking too much alcohol.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Hormone deficiency and excess - Osteoblasts are stimulated by female hormone oestrogen to resynthesize bone material. Post-Menopausal fall of oestrogen increases risk of developing osteoporosis in women. Hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, reduced level of oestrogen and testosterone, Hyperparathyroidism interfere in the process of bone turnover and increases risk of osteoporosis.
Alcoholism - Alcohol can arrest bone remodelling and increase your calcium loss. Being tipsy increases the risk of falling, and with osteoporosis, that means risking a fracture.
Tobacco use - Smokers suffer from lower bone density and a higher risk of fracture than non-smokers. Studies on smoking and bone health have turned up a host of other dire effects, from direct toxic effects of nicotine on bone cells to blocking the body’s ability to use estrogen, calcium, and vitamin D.
Long term use of glucocorticoids - These drugs are used to treat asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, colitis, and a wide range of other conditions may lead to bone loss and increase in bone fractures.
Immobilization for long periods - Bones weaken if they aren’t worked. For people who ar sedentary or have a condition like paralysis or muscular dystrophy, bone loss happens quickly.
Malignancies especially multiple myelomas infiltrate bones with abnormal cells.
Homoeopathic Management of Osteoporosis*
Homoeopathy treats patient not the disease. It takes wider deeper totality treating the patient on all levels physical, mental, emotional. It takes underlying cause and individual’s susceptibility into account. Constitutional treatment will not reverse bone loss which has occurred already but will definitely reduce the pain, arrest further progress of disease and improves absorption and assimilation of calcium and other important nutrients required for good bone health. Homoeopathy stimulates body’s natural healing capacity. From therapeutic point of view there are many medicines for osteoporosis that can be selected on the basis of symptom similarity.
Osteoporosis is a lifestyle disease attributable to wrong diet and medications and lack of regular physical exercise. Lifestyle modification helps in prevention and management of osteoporosis. Treatment of Osteoporosis will include a combined approach employing a combination of various prevention and treatment strategies. Eating well balanced diet, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise, limiting intake of alcohol, quitting smoking and avoiding caffeine, phosphorous rich foods as fizzy drinks, aluminium utensils, possibly red meat, prolonged intake of oxytetracycline all of these are listed as stimulating calcium excretion.
- Ensure adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D - Recommended total daily calcium intake for post-menopausal women is 1200mg/day which can be achieved through dietary sources of calcium and calcium supplements. Recommended dose of vitamin D is 200-600 IU which can be synthesized through exposure to sunlight in skin or may be taken as oral supplements. Vitamin D has important role to play in absorption of calcium and mineralization of bone.
- High Protein diet - Increased protein intake may increase the formation of organic matrix of bone.
- Avoid smoking - Many studies have associated tobacco smoking with decreased bone health, but the mechanisms are unclear. It has been proposed that tobacco smoking inhibit the activity of osteoblasts Smoking is an independent risk factor for osteoporosis. It also results in increased breakdown of exogenous estrogen, lower body weight and earlier menopause, all of which contribute to lower bone mineral density.
- Exercise regularly - Jogging and other high impact physical activities significantly increase bone density. Exercising regularly reduces risk of falling by increasing muscular strength. Weight bearing exercises act as a stimulus to increase bone density and also increase muscle strength. Bed ridden patients should be given active or passive exercises.
- Fall prevention - Falls are the precipitating factors for fracture occurrence. Falls prevention is the first line of treatment for those at high risk for falling.