Bone Density: Guide To The Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Of Osteoporosis

March 6, 2022

Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by low bone density where the bones become brittle and weak. It occurs when the bone makes too little bone or loses too much bone, or both, resulting in an increased risk of fracture by a fall. Even daily activities such as coughing or sneezing too hard or bending over may cause a bone fracture in patients with osteoporosis. Bone is made up of living tissue that is constantly being regenerated. Osteoporosis occurs when not enough new bone is produced to make up for the deterioration of old bone.


Osteoporosis is sneaky in that most individuals who are affected do not feel their bones weakening until one breaks. It may take years before osteoporosis becomes problematic. Common symptoms of this condition include chronic back pain that radiates down the back on both sides of the body and curving of the spine that may cause a visible hunched-back, often called a dowager hump, in elderly individuals. Recurrent stress fractures, especially in the feet while walking or stepping off a curb, could be a sign of osteoporosis.


The most common cause of osteoporosis is estrogen deficiency in women. Bone loss increases in women after menopause, which occurs when there is a sudden drop in estrogen. Younger women who stop menstruating such as athletes or those who suffer from anorexia also have an increased risk. A surgical procedure known as a bilateral oophorectomy in which both ovaries are removed may also cause osteoporosis. According to one study, postmenopausal women who undergo a bilateral oophorectomy procedure have a fifty-four percent increase in wrist, spine, and hip fractures.

Low testosterone in men may lead to osteoporosis. In general, any hormonal imbalance or thyroid complication may result in low bone density. Other factors may include cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, chronic inflammation or bowel disease that may cause malabsorption, chemotherapy, immobility after a stroke or heart attack, hyperthyroidism, vitamin D deficiency, inherited connective tissue disorders such as osteogenesis imperfecta, and certain medications including blood thinners, anti-seizure drugs, and corticosteroids.

Risk Factors

Bone mass begins to deteriorate after individuals turn thirty-five years old and will continue throughout the remainder of their lifetime, which is why older individuals are the ones most at risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis may occur more frequently in menopausal and postmenopausal women. In general, women are more prone to osteoporosis than men. It is also more common in Caucasian and Asian races and in individuals who have a family history of osteoporosis. It occurs more commonly in individuals with a small or petite frame and those with a history of bone fractures.


Bone fractures associated with osteoporosis are considerably painful. They may also decrease the quality of life in those affected. As many as thirty percent of individuals who experience a hip fracture will be placed in a long-term nursing home after a fall. Elderly individuals with osteoporosis are more likely to develop blood clots in leg veins and pneumonia due to bed rest after a hip fracture or fall. Research shows approximately twenty percent of women with osteoporosis who break their hip will die within one year of the fall.


Taking supplements that improve bone health is a good way to keep osteoporosis away. Such supplements include magnesium and vitamin D3, which are needed for calcium absorption, and vitamin K, which is critical for proper bone formation. If individuals wish to take a calcium supplement, they must be sure to choose calcium citrate, as this form is most readily available for absorption. Strontium is an alkaline mineral that can also be used to prevent osteoporosis. As the body prefers to absorb these nutrients in food, individuals should first focus on eating a diet with a variety of plant-based foods or look for a whole-food supplement.

Exercise And Essential Oils

Exercise is a great way for individuals to strengthen their bones. Those who wish to try exercising for osteoporosis treatment must be sure to include both aerobic and resistance training to get the full benefits exercise has to offer. They can also take their exercise outdoors in the sun for an added boost of vitamin D. Standing on a vibration platform for up to twenty minutes a day may also help bone health. Aside from exercise, some individuals also use essential oils to help ease pain and strengthen their bone health, particularly when dealing with osteoporosis. Those who want to embrace this method should apply fir, helichrysum, and cypress essential oils to the affected area.


Osteoporosis treatment may include medications to support bone health, such as bisphosphonates drugs, which are the ones most commonly prescribed for low bone density. Some women are given hormones such as estrogen to improve bone health; however, as estrogen therapy may increase the risk of heart attack and cancer, it should only be taken in small doses for a short period. Other medications designed to reduce the risk of fractures include denosumab and teriparatide. Teriparatide is the only drug that has been proven to rebuild bone and reduce at least some cases of osteoporosis.

Foods To Avoid

An acidic diet, or one high in inflammatory foods, may cause osteoporosis as the body will pull calcium and other alkaline minerals from the bones in an attempt to fight off toxins in the body. Natural treatment for osteoporosis may include avoiding certain foods, such as alcohol and refined sugar, that increase inflammation and worsens osteoporosis symptoms. Excessive caffeine intake and a high intake of sodium, such as in processed food may also cause bone loss. Sweetened beverages such as soda and other sugary drinks may cause osteoporosis by increasing inflammation and removing calcium from bones.

Foods To Eat More Of

Eating alkaline foods may help stabilize pH levels in the body, making it harder for disease to thrive. These foods include sea vegetables such as nori, agar, kombu, and wakame, which are all high in calcium. Green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K, which is needed for bone health. Wild-caught fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation, and cultured, raw dairy is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Those who want to use their diet to help their condition should be sure to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible to help alkalize their body.

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