Health – Can You Feel It In Your Bones?
Scientist say if you are fair skinned, small boned, with a family history of bone disease or are of European or Asian descent, especially female gender, you may have a predisposition for osteoporosis.
There goes the neighborhood. These risk factors are as omnipresent as Tim Horton franchises in B.C. It’s enough to make one think “I knew I should have picked a better family.”
Statistics can be discouraging when you can’t change the risk factors. However just knowing your risks might be of help in the choices you make for your life, just as if you knew there was a high risk of a cold winter coming you could take steps to prepare for it.
Actually there are more than 80 warning signs for this “supposedly silent” condition, according to Pamela Levin, R.N., author of the book Perfect Bones. Included are such things as sudden insomnia, soft teeth, nightly leg cramps, dowager’s hump, back pain, being a smoker (no surprise), morning stiffness…to name a few. Any one of these things, says Levin, is significant to signal the risk of osteoporosis.
I don’t know about you, but 80 wake-up calls seem to me like being hit over the head with a hammer. How could we not get the message?
Bone weakness and loss is just another indicator of long term malnutrition and sedentary lifestyle. Many people think osteoporosis is an adult-only disease when in fact it really begins in early childhood with one’s food and activity choices. When did you start to drink pop and sugary snacks and omit raw vegetables and whole foods from your diet? When did your definition of food include over cooked, irradiated, genetically modified, and refined “products” passed off to the unaware consumer as “food”? When did your body begin to have to draw minerals and nutrients out of your bones in order to fulfill the need for balanced raw materials not present in our daily diet? When did you choose to ride instead of walk to a destination of only a couple of blocks or take the elevator up one floor?
Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, 700,000 of them in the vertebrae of the spine and 300,000 in hips, at an estimated cost of more than $14 billion each year. Other common fractures occur in wrists, forearms, feet and toes. And of course, the rate of occurrence is growing fast with the increase in the average age of our population. Early detection and accurate and immediate intervention is very important to the physical and financial health of our nation.
Many physicians are using bone mineral density testing (BMD) to detect an early reason to medicate. Yet there are other factors besides bone density that determine bone strength and resilience, and some studies actually refute the idea that an increase in bone density will reduce fracture rates. In Gambia, Africa, for example, elderly women have lower bone mineral content by 10-24 per cent compared to Canadians, yet their fracture rate is very low (less than 1 percent).
Clearly there are lifestyle factors at work here. No manner of research on medications or high tech methods of early detection will find an answer that does not include a high nutrient diet and appropriate weight bearing activities as the two crucial preventive means of keeping our bones strong. Our bones can and should be strong right through old age and beyond.