Preventing health issues is much easier than treating them later. Yet, most individuals spend little time on prevention. It seems to be human nature. Why expend any energy on a problem that hasn’t occurred yet, and may never occur? As a result, most people are forced, at some later date, to spend a greater amount of their time, resources, and attention on treatment options. A few people “see the light” and take preventative steps. Most however, ignore the “light” and wind up having to “feel the heat”.
Prevention is particularly crucial with osteoporosis, a condition that involves bone mineral density and mass loss. While numerous drug treatments are available, none actually cure or reverse the disease, and as it progresses the risk of falls, fractures and the resulting severe injuries continues to rise. Most diagnoses of osteoporosis are made after some bone fracture has already occurred or during a bone scan later in life. At that point, one is “feeling the heat,” and prevention is no longer an option. That’s why prevention and paying attention to some early warning signs are essential.
Here are a few early warning signs of osteoporosis:
Gum disease, receding gum tissue, tooth loss, and jaw bone density loss are early signs of osteoporosis. These problems can show up years before there is sufficient calcium loss and weakening in larger weight-bearing bones that result in fractures.
Decreasing Grip Strength
The diagnosis of osteoporosis most often happens after a fall or fracture of a larger bone, like that of the hip or spinal column, which are typically weight-bearing bones. Bones are living tissue that constantly adapts its structure to the stress they undergo. Bones that don’t endure stress are naturally weaker. For example, unlike your leg bones, the bones in your hand aren’t required to support heavy weight. As such, they are not as strong, or structurally crucial. If you’re not getting enough calcium or other compounds from your diet, your body will pull that calcium out of the hand bones (or jaw bone) and move it to your hip and leg bones or your spine. That’s why bone loss in the jaw and weaker grip strength is an early warning sign of osteoporosis.
Weak and/or Brittle Fingernails
Fingernails require the same minerals as bones, such as calcium. In the past, doctors used to examine all the fingernails and toenails during every visit or medical examination. Nail analysis is still practiced by doctors trained in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Observant and trained doctors can look at nails and recognize many health problems like low oxygen levels, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, anemia, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, diabetes, kidney failure, chronic bronchitis, and mineral deficiencies in calcium, zinc and other minerals.
Other Factors to Consider
Certain drugs or medical conditions could lead to osteoporosis.
- Corticosteroids can actually induce osteoporosis. And, if you have osteoporosis and take these drugs, it can accelerate the condition. Corticosteroids stimulate the growth and number of cells that naturally break down bone, while also decreasing the function of cells that build bone.
- Proton pump inhibitors, the popular “acid blocker” drugs, being sold both by prescription and over-the counter, can increase your risk, or lead to, osteoporosis. They reduce the production of digestive acid by the stomach. Protein and numerous minerals, like calcium, require adequate amounts of stomach acid for proper digestion and assimilation. When you block stomach acid formation, it’s harder to get the minerals necessary for bone health from your diet. Proton pump inhibitors are just another drug that was approved for safety by our FDA that has turned out to be dangerous. These drugs have also now been linked to severe kidney disease, heart attack, dementia and cancer.
- Some antiepileptic drugs also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- A hormone imbalance, particularly lower levels of estrogen in women and lower levels of testosterone in men, can cause osteoporosis.
Prevention is essential to avoid any risk of falls, fractures, and resulting severe injuries. Some of the ways to prevent osteoporosis include a more alkaline diet, digestive aids, vitamin D, vitamin K, strontium, weight-bearing exercise, and vibrational therapy.
Preventing osteoporosis is crucial since most diagnoses are made after some bone fracture has already occurred. A few early warning signs, such as receding gums, weak grip strength, and weak or brittle fingernails, are worth noting. Some drugs or medical conditions could also lead to osteoporosis. Prevention is essential to avoid any risk of falls, fractures, and resulting severe injuries.