What are osteoporosis and osteopenia?
You may have heard the terms osteoporosis and osteopenia and wondered what they are? Or you may have heard the names and were unaware that this is a silent dis-ease and people only usually discover it when they fracture as I did.
What is osteoporosis?
In simple terms, your bones leach important minerals, become porous, weakened and unhealthy. These unhealthy bones which are supporting your entire being are being weakened because they are unable to feed themselves with the nutrients they need. They have become unbalanced. This is the result of a multitude of factors as you will discover.
During the early years of your life, you are building your bone matrix and then it has been suggested that after about 30-35 this matrix starts to naturally decline. Because we can’t see our bones we do not know if this is happening to us.
The medical industry classifies osteoporosis[i] into two types primary and secondary, although your doctor may just clump them together.
What they mean by this is that primary is the form that mostly affects menopausal women and is linked to oestrogen deficiency or if it’s a man then testosterone. Plus, it’s called this because there is a rapid loss of the spongy inner part of the bone called the trabecular bone. Another form of primary osteoporosis is thought to be because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, again mostly in older women.
It is thought that the oestrogen form causes wrist and vertebrae fractures and the vitamin and mineral one causes hip fractures.
Then there is secondary osteoporosis which is where lots of other conditions such as Hyperparathyroidism and Hyperthyroidism which are lumped together. But also bone marrow conditions such as Thalassemia, Multiple myelomas, Leukaemia and Metastatic bone disease. It is also thought that those that have been through cancer treatment are also susceptible. Then there are many other conditions which can lead to it with or without taking drugs which have been prescribed to ‘cure’ you.
When you read things like this it can freak you out and give you a false sense of knowing – meaning you draw false conclusions. Let me explain. In 2016 I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid, I’m post menopause, I have had gut absorption problems practically all my life which I now know has led to vitamin and mineral deficiency. My spine fractured, but was this because of all of this or was it from the many falls I had from 2015 onwards? Is it because of stress, unresolved emotional issues or poor gut health? Was it also exacerbated by the fact that I drank water with 999ppm of calcium in for over a year or that I was dehydrated and carried an inflamed body around most of my life?
There are many factors which influence our bones and these are discussed throughout my book. To my mind, it is all very well seeking an answer, but there are clues everywhere and each one contributes to this imbalance. Everything you do and eat leaves these clues and it is my belief that there is not one singular cause, rather that there is a series of progressive issues which bring your bones to this place.
What I also believe is if the bone matrix naturally declines because of ‘life’ to my mind we can rebuild it.
Ok, we can’t make our wrinkles go away but similarly, we can improve the texture and elasticity of the skin. Likewise, when you start to exercise again muscle strength returns.
But first, let’s look at the ways this has been described.
- Porous bone
- Scurvy of the bone
- Weak and spongy bones
- Dry bones
- Low bone density (low bone mass)
The bottom line is that our body is telling us that vital vitamins and minerals are missing and we must go back to nutritional basics. Not only that but our environment has been compromised and must find a way to restore harmony and balance.
There is a lot of technical data to explain this. Most research that I have looked at call it a disease and a disorder. I dislike this as immediately it puts you in a flight or fright state (stress). What I prefer instead is to separate the words dis-ease and dis-order and therefore we have a body out of ease and one that is out of balance. However, it is important to understand what happens in your body even at a basic level. We are going to keep this simple. I am keeping it simple because if you want and need to dig deeper there are some fantastic books written by doctors (which I am not) who can explain all of this in greater depth. I want to inspire you to undertake your research and find your solutions.
What is osteopenia?
Osteopenia is one of your early warning signs. It’s a diagnosis that says your bones are becoming porous and your body is not in balance. This is a time to study osteoporosis and put your healing plan into place so that you create a well-balanced healthy body. Ignorance is no excuse.
You may have fractured and have osteopenia in which case it will now be classed as osteoporosis and once again, do your research and heal your bones so that you prevent any more happening.
Dr Susan Brown ‘You can’t predict fractures by bone density.’
Sadly, doctors will prescribe the same drugs for osteopenia and they do for osteoporosis. That to my mind is dangerous.
Not everyone with low bone density will develop either osteopenia or osteoporosis. It may be an indicator of something else. However, it is an indicator that something is amiss and needs addressing.
Get yourself tested and change your diet and lifestyle today. Think strong, healthy bones.
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