Select a Topic
- What are Brittle Bones?
- Diagnosing Brittle Bones (Osteoporosis)
- What Causes Brittle Bones
- Help for Brittle Bones
- More Information about Brittle Bones
What are Brittle Bones?
Brittle bones are bones that have lost calcium and other minerals that make up the structure of bones. Instead of being solid, brittle bones have open pockets where bone has been depleted, causing them to become fragile, which can result in fractures and pain.
Over twenty million people in the United States have osteoporosis. While men and women can have brittle bones, women have a higher risk. Twenty-five percent of post-menopausal women have osteoporosis.
Diagnosing Brittle Bones
The most effective method to diagnose osteoporosis is by use of a DEXA scan. Bone loss and the effectiveness of treatments to reduce bone loss can be monitored by urine tests.
What Causes Brittle Bones?
Risk factors for development of brittle bones or osteoporosis include:
- Being a lean, post-menopausal Caucasian or Asian woman of small stature who has never given birth
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Low calcium intake
- History of steroid or anticonvulsant medications, or history of chemotherapy and hormonal drugs used in the treatment of breast and other cancers
- Overactive thyroid or parathyroid glands
- History of smoking and alcohol use
Prevention of brittle bones optimally starts early in life. The entire skeleton is at risk for brittle bones. The highest amount of bone loss occurs in the spine, hips and ribs. Bone loss increases as aging occurs, and pain, deformity and fractures may result.
Help for Brittle Bones
What can be done to prevent brittle bones, lessen osteoporosis or improve the health of bones?
Conventional medical practitioners recommend calcium supplements and medications to help retard bone loss. Pharmaceutical medications used to treat osteoporosis may present serious side effects. Some are administered intravenously. Others require that instructions for oral administration be followed precisely in order to prevent serious injury or death.
Conventional practitioners may recommend the use of hormone replacement therapies. Hormone replacement therapy can be effective but increase risks for serious or life threatening health conditions including some cancers and stroke.
Conventional and natural health experts recommend a healthy diet, rich in easily absorbable high calcium foods. Dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent addition to a diet designed to prevent brittle bones.
Calcium supplements need to be administered in an easily absorbable form. Most calcium supplements have limited effectiveness because they are not combined with other minerals and nutrients which enhance absorption. Often, supplements contain forms of calcium that are simply excreted instead of used.
Other vitamins and minerals that reduce bone loss include vitamins D, B6, B12, folic acid and magnesium.
More Information about Brittle Bones
- Plant estrogens provide a healthy alternative to hormone replacement therapies. Soy has been shown to increase bone density by up to six percent within six months to one year.
- Limit salt, sugar and soft drinks. All of these promote the loss of calcium.
- Avoid high protein diets as they increase the loss of calcium.
An effective plan to prevent or heal brittle bones includes dietary and exercise components. The use of a high quality, easy to swallow, natural remedy that is free from dangerous side effects is an essential aspect of any program.