Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone condition that affects millions of women, and is characterized by a progressive loss of bone density. It usually begins to develop among women who are going through menopause. By the time a woman reaches postmenopause, the loss of bone density can begin to wreak havoc on a woman's life.
The key players in bone growth and maintenance:
Many already know that mineral and vitamins are important in maintaining healthy bones. But bone cells also play a critical role in the maintenance of bone health. Such cells are divided into two very distinctive groups:
- Osteoclasts. In charge of "breaking" bone cells to allow space for new ones.
- Osteoblasts. In charge of growing new bone cells.
Both are key to the body's bone structure. When a woman is approaching menopause, a key role in controlling the balance between both cells levels begins. When this level is diminished bones suffer.
Menopausal osteoporosis is particularly dangerous for women because it is one of the few hormonal disorders that fails to exhibit any symptom in any way. Because of this characteristic, it can often remain undiagnosed until a bone breaks by itself or by a fracture. This is the reason why alternative therapies for the prevention of osteoporosis are important, from the moment the first perimenopausal symptoms begin to show themselves.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Most women suffer from osteoporosis as a result of changing hormone levels, and a large percentage of those women are dealing with menopause symptoms.
What Are the Alternative for Osteoporosis?
The main alternative treatments for osteoporosis include acupuncture and herbal supplements.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting fine needles at various “energy points” within the body, in order to stimulate the body to retain calcium and bone mass.
A popular alternative treatment for osteoporosis can include the use of phytoestrogenic or hormone-regulating supplements.
Phytoestrogenic supplements are those that introduce estrogen-like components into the body; while hormone-regulating supplements nourish the body's endocrine system so it can restore hormonal levels by itself. Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements can cause side effects if excessive estrogen levels are reached. On the other hand, hormone-regulating supplements restore each person's ideal levels of each hormone, so they don't carry side effects.
More invasive treatment, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also have the ability to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, as well as diminishing other menopause symptoms. However, they also carry stronger side effects and a certain degree of risk. For this reason, it is important that all treatment options are considered carefully as often alternative treatment for osteoporosis can be a viable option for women.
- American Physical Therapy Association.(n.d)."What You Need to Know about Osteoporosis." Retrieved from www.apta.org.
- Cleveland Clinic.(n.d)."Menopause and Osteoporosis." Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation.(n.d)."Prevention: Who's at Risk.".Retrieved from www.nof.org.
- New York State Department of Health.(n.d)."Calcium and Healthy Bones." Retrieved from www.health.state.ny.us.