Are you feeling a little broken up about bone loss? You don’t have to be. Bone loss is a common issue that can be remedied in a number of ways. Let’s bone up – pun intended – on the causes of bone loss, the different types of bone loss, and how to treat them.
Bone loss is caused by many factors, some of which are age, medical conditions, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and even genetics. As we get older, bone density decreases and bone begins to thin out due to a natural process known as bone remodeling. If the process is not addressed early on, this can eventually lead to bone loss.
Bone loss can get worse in the presence of serious medical conditions such as osteoporosis or cancer. In the case of osteoporosis, bone tissue breaks down faster than it regenerates. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise can also weaken bones by reducing bone density and increasing the risk of fractures, and certain genetic disorders can cause bone loss due to abnormal bone structure or weakened bone tissue.
There are several types of bone loss that can be distinguished based on the causes and symptoms associated with them:
– Osteopenia: This is a condition where bones start losing density but are still considered normal in terms of strength. It occurs mainly in postmenopausal women, but can affect anyone at any age.
– Osteoporosis: This is a serious condition that affects both men and women and is caused by low bone mass, leading to porous bones that are prone to fractures. It can develop over time, without showing any symptoms until it’s too late, which makes diagnosis difficult.
– Paget’s disease: Also known as osteitis deformans, this is a progressive disorder usually affecting elderly people that causes weakened bones due to alterations in the rate of bone regeneration vs breakdown rate. More bone tissue breaks down than regenerates, leading to weak, porous bones that can fracture easily upon impact or stress.
Treatment depends on a person’s specific situation and the type of bone loss they have been diagnosed with. Some ways of going about treating or reversing bone loss include lifestyle changes, such as eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D or engaging in weight-bearing exercises (such as running or jumping) to stimulate new bone growth; medications, such as bisphosphonates or hormone replacement therapy; physical therapies, including massage therapy; surgery; stem cell therapies; herbal remedies; alternative therapies; dietary supplements; exercise programs tailored to increase bone health; or lifestyle modifications aimed at improving overall health (i.e. quitting smoking).
Each one of these methods has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to discuss the options with your doctor before deciding which treatment plan or combination of approaches you will undertake. A new exercise routine that is intertwined with a physical therapy regimen, massage, herbal remedies and supplements is more in the realm of holistic medicine, whereas more aggressive and involved treatments such as medications, stem cell therapy, or surgery can be expensive and have side effects.
The Latin proverb Festina lente, meaning ‘hurry slowly’, may be ripe for application here. Depending on what your doctor advises after having informed you about your bone loss, it may or may not be the right choice to rush into a radical therapy. What is certainly wise is to change something in your life as soon as you get the diagnosis, to start on your way toward healthier bones right away.