Over 1.5 million Canadians are diagnosed with osteoporosis. It is a major public health concern. Having osteoporosis puts Canadians at risk for fractures which can be disabling and life-threatening. There are a lot of misconceptions about this bone disease. In this article, we will bust 6 myths about osteoporosis.
1. Osteoporosis is just thin bones
The main issue of osteoporosis is not that the bones are thin but that the bone’s self-repair mechanism is compromised. Nutrient deficiencies, lack of exercise and toxic chemicals and pollutants can all impair this self-repair mechanism.
2. Osteoporosis is a normal part of ageing
While some bone loss is normal, osteoporosis is not. Bone mass typically peaks between age 30-35. Around age 40, bone loss begins at a rate of 0.5% per year. Despite lower bone volume as you age, the bone should still be able to repair itself but osteoporosis is an abnormal pattern of bone loss.
3. Osteoporosis is common all over the world
Like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, osteoporosis is a degenerative disease of civilization (AKA lifestyle diseases). The highest rates of osteoporosis are seen in industrialized countries such as Canada and the US.
4. Osteoporosis only affects women
Osteoporosis occurs in both men and women. 1 in 8 men and 1 in 4 women over the age of 50 are osteoporotic. There are several factors that make women more at risk. 25% of all surgeries are on the female reproductive tract. Women who have surgeries and are on bed rest have an increased risk of osteoporosis. Nutrient deficiencies also increase the risk of osteoporosis, with women more likely to diet and have eating disorders1. Not having menses (amenorrhea or menopause) also puts women more at risk.
5. Osteoporosis is a disease of the elderly
Osteoporosis is not just isolated to the elderly, it can also happen in younger adults (<50 years old). Younger adults who are anorexic, athletes, ballet dancers, or have a long history of corticosteroid use are more at risk for osteoporosis.
6. Osteoporosis means something has gone wrong with the body
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease. When the body is out of balance it attempts to correct it, but often this can mean sacrificing bones. The blood’s pH (or level of acidity) must be maintained for the body to operate. If the blood is too acidic, the body will try to lower it by taking basic elements, such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, out of the bones. This process over many years can lead to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a common disease that many Canadians suffer with. It increases the risk for falls and hip fractures which can affect everyday quality of life. Luckily, Naturopathic Doctors can help patients manage their osteoporosis. Book an appointment today!