OSTEOPOROSIS - AN EPIDEMIC
By Kevin Witham, BSc(Hons), MDipFTST, DipIIST, NLP(Prac)
Many people will now have readÂ≠ijbo t gwi?g problem of Osteoporosis in Western countries.
Osteoporosis, or literally porous bone, is a gradual wasting away of the skeletal bones, causing a loss of bone density (calcium), and an increased risk of fractures and infection. Once almost unheard of, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men in the UK will now develop this condition. In the US, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men develop osteoporosis. This, like many other conditions, is not inevitable or a natural process of growing older but a reflection of our modern lifestyles far out of line from what nature intended for us.
Women are much more at risk from Osteoporosis than men due to the female hormone Estrogen which is the main female hormone which prevents calcium loss from the bones. Once a women reaches her menopause around age 50, this hormone begins to decline and, unless preventative measures are taken, increases the risk of bone density loss. However, men are at risk too.
Other factors which will lead to greater bone losses are an early menopause or a cessation of periods which may be caused by low body weight (fat) and poor dietary choices. Lack of weight bearing exercise and increasing sedentary lifestyles are a major risk factor as little stress is applied to the bones. It is this stress that causes the bones to absorb more calcium in the first place.
Chronic smoking, large quantities of alcohol and caffeine will also cause calcium loss, as may very high protein diets - a current fad at the moment.
Poor diets lacking in essential minerals like calcium will also mean that bones will not receive the vital nutrients they require to become strong. Contrary to popular belief milk may not be a good choice for calcium. Many people as they become older lose the ability to digest milk and therefore to release the calcium within. Osteoporosis is a disease largely of the modern world - where large quantities of milk are consumed. High levels of salt found in processed foods also rob bones of calcium.
Regular exercise is vital for the growing of bones but it must be weight bearing. Exercise like swimming is not weight bearing neither are a lot of exercises in the gym that I see people doing like bikes and cross trainers. Resistance training is vital - not necessarily with heavy weights but a weight that causes some work to be done. Gym exercises with light weights are almost useless. Women who fear bulking up muscles are barking up the wrong tree - they won’t! In their ignorance, light weights will not create stronger bones.
Eat better! Cut out the processed rubbish and increase your fresh food especially green vegetables like cabbage, kale and broccoli but, not too much spinach. Fish and soya are also good sources of calcium.
Please do not think Osteoporosis is normal – it’s not. But you must be prepared to do something. Make your life more active, watch less TV! With over two hundred bones and six hundred muscles, your body is designed to move.
For more information on the above, please contact Kevin direct.