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Osteoporosis describes a loss of bone mass that can possibly result in fractures (most common in lower spine, hips and wrists), loss of height, and pain in hips and back. It occurs most commonly in women after menopause and is the most common bone dysfunction in the United States.

Currently, approximately 7 million people have osteoporosis with 18 million more considered to be at high risk. 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures occur per year with a hip fracture being the most common. The average cost per person to the health care system is approximately $35,000 and the total cost output is over $18 billion per year.

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly shedding its’ dead cells and reproducing new ones for replacement. This process is always ongoing. When the breakdown process exceeds the bone cell manufacturing capacity one starts to slowly lose their bone mass.

This loss of bone mass does not indicate a fracture is eminent. Studies reveal that women of different cultures all experience bone loss at similar rates in regards to their age. However, the fracture rate varies widely. The difference appears to be in the integrity of the bone matrix. Changes in the matrix prevent the bone from holding onto the necessary minerals and components to keep the remaining bone strong. And this is not simply due to menopause (decrease in estrogens) or is corrected by just taking calcium.

Osteoporosis results from a combination of these influential factors:

Diet: high protein intake, “refined carbs”, high acid ash foods, phosphates
Stress: physical, emotional and biochemical
Drug induced: Diuretics, thyroid hormone, blood thinners, corticosteroids, steroids, NSAIDS
Hormonal influences: Reproductive, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal
Lack of weight bearing exercise/Inactivity
Familial tendencies
Alcohol, coffee and soft drinks
Premature menopause: surgically induced or physiological changes
Nutrient deficiency due to poor intake or digestive dysfunction
Thin and small boned
Never been pregnant
History of an eating disorder

Osteoporosis can be prevented or minimized by taking measures to correct the aforementioned risk factors. The more risk factors one eliminates the less chance one has of suffering from the negative consequences of osteoporosis. Many of the above risk factors can be corrected through dietary changes, supplementation, addressing systemic dysfunctions i.e. hormonal problems and digestive disturbances, stress reduction techniques and physical exercise.