Osteoporosis Archives

Happy New Year 2011!

It’s been just over two years since I started this blog and what an enlightening journey it’s been. When I started it, I was writing two times a week and then cut down to once a week when I started aboutalz.com. Now, as the new year begins, I am in the process of developing a new program, Gracefully Age Program  (GAP), where I work with seniors and baby boomers who struggle to find enough time to take care of their aging bodies, but would like to feel like they are in their 20’s again … except with better judgment.

My clients and I work together on the goals to be accomplished. Currently, we are in a three-month pilot program, but the actual program starts this spring and will run for six months. I am developing resources for the program as well as joint ventures. My program will be unique in that as a Cellular Response energy healer, I will incorporate energy exercises which I find totally intriguing.

As my blog has pointed out for the past couple of years, we seniors need to take care of our bodies if we want to have a good quality of life ahead of us. As I observe seniors around me, so many of them have let their bodies deteriorate. They have no energy. They have no sparkle in their faces. They are in pain. Diseases are rampant. I felt a program like GAP could help people even more than what I am doing in my Cellular Response practice. But only people who are committed to do anything to have optimal health will succeed in such a program. We all know people who could benefit from such a program, but they are going to have to want it for themselves. I will be the link that will help them achieve their goals.

So, I need more time to spend on the next chapter of my retirement career of helping more people and therefore, I will be adding to my blog every other Wednesday instead of weekly. I’ll be back in two weeks.

I appreciate your friendship. Make 2011 the best year ever!

How to Keep your Body Alkaline

As 2010 comes to a close, I hope it was a healthy year and you are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. I know I have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to in 2011.

Each of us has a path we can take — the illness path or the wellness path. The choices we make determine whether we’re headed for illness or for wellness. We are in charge of our own body. We determine what to consume. We decide if we are going to challenge our bodies by exercising. We are constantly making choices — one choice is just as easy to make as another choice. Still, over a period of time, one will lead to better health and one will lead to your doctor’s office. Which will it be for you?

One of the ways to keep your body free of diseases is to keep it in an alkaline state. I’ve heard it many times — diseases cannot live in an alkaline body. How do you keep your body in an alkaline state? By consuming more alkaline foods than acidic ones. Approximately 75 percent of your food intake should be alkaline and about 25 percent should be acidic. So, a lot more alkaline foods than acidic ones. This helpful chart at betterbones.com puts the alkaline-forming foods on a scale from low to high.

There are various places where you can buy pH paper such as a garden center or pet shop or even one that sells swimming pool supplies. If you want one that covers a wider gamut, you may need to find a lab supply store.
Personally, to keep my body alkaline, I take a “greens” supplement with every meal. What I like about this company is that their multi-vitamin is also packed with a “greens” caplet. I also drink alkaline water. I was recently tested by a health practitioner and my body was in an alkaline state. This is not to say that I leave the job to the supplements. I do try to make smart choices about what I eat.

I wish all of you the best of health. Take care and see you next year.

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Alkaline Water

You may or may not have heard of companies marketing water ionizers which make water more alkaline. By drinking ionized water, the acidity which corrodes body tissue is lowered and hence illness would be reduced. That’s the claim, but is it important for our body to be in a more alkaline state than an acidic one?

Let’s go back to high school (or was it elementary school?) science. On the pH scale, alkalinity runs from zero to 14. Seven (7) is neutral, >7 is alkaline, <7 is acidic. Our blood is generally slightly alkaline with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Our body strives to maintain a balanced pH level and when the balance is compromised, problems can occur.  Also, as we get older, our pH balancing system gets less efficient. A body that’s too alkaline is rare; one that is too acidic is very common. For example, how many people do you know that have heartburn or acid reflux — problems with too much acid produced by the stomach.

One of the problems that many seniors face is that of being on too many prescription drugs. Drugs have many unwanted side effects and additionally deplete nutrition as I pointed out in a previous post. Perhaps alkaline water, rather than drugs, can help solve some of the problems.

A blog post on the popular osteoporosis drug, Fosomax, says that the secret to preventing osteoporosis could be alkalinity. According to alive.com, in research presented in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004, alkaline-forming foods were found to build strong bones and prevent both risk of fracture and osteoporosis, while acid-forming foods were found to increase bone loss, risk of fracture, and osteoporosis. According to a study in the 2003 journal Neoplasma, acid-forming soft drinks, alcohol, and coffee proved to be statistically significant risk factors for cancer. Click here to see a partial list of alkaline and acid-forming foods. Another list from preventdisease.com is here.

According to the NIH, calcium intake along with vitamin D can help maintain body alkalinity and prevent osteoporosis. This post gives you the  recommended daily intake of calcium.

Published in 1991, the author of Alkalize or Die says:

The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause…too much tissue acid waste in the body!
Theodore A. Baroody, N.D., D.C., Ph.D.

Personally, I drink at least 8 ounces of alkaline water a day. I use a product called VitaWater mixing an ounce with 1 gallon of distilled water and drinking it as is or making my cup of green tea with it. Not only is it an alkalizing agent, I use it for burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and for my plants as well. For more information, click here.

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Spinal Research Foundation

Spinal Research Foundation

This is a continuation of information from a seminar I attended called, “Osteoporosis: Taking Steps Towards Bone Health” sponsored by the Virginia Spine Institute and the Spinal Research Foundation. The presenter was Christopher R. Good, MD. Osteoporosis is a serious disease where bone mineral density is reduced. It is a myth that bone loss is not serious. It is a progressive disease and irreversible. Even a minor trauma can cause a debilitating fracture.

What action can you take if you are at risk for osteoporosis? Sure, you can take medication, but there are side effects to prescription medication. Calcium is a must and is best accomplished through fresh fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products. In addition, you can protect yourself by the following:

  • Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation
  • Fall prevention
  • Hip protectors
  • Balance and exercise programs

There are so many choices for calcium. Check to see that your calcium has Vitamin D added. You can check the absorption rate of your calcium with the vinegar test. Personally, I take coral calcium and if you do the vinegar test, this particular one does not fizz and dissolve immediately. It takes awhile, but it also contains enzymes which help with absorption and digestion. This is particularly important for those with digestive problems.

How much calcium do you need? Here is a guide.

  • Under 50 years of age: Calcium 1000 mg/day, Vitamin D 200 IU/day
  • 50 and older: Calcium 1200 mg/day, Vitamin D 400 IU/day
  • 70 and older: Calcium 1200 mg/day, Vitamin D 600 IU/day

There are so many more areas of discussion, but if you have the following warning signs, see  your medical practitioner right away.

  • Persistent, unexplained back pain
  • Loss of height
  • Can no longer stand upright
  • Spinal deformities

One of the tests that might be recommended is the bone density test or DEXA scan. According to the spring 2009 issue of the Journal of the Spinal Research Foundation, osteoporosis is classified by a t-score value of greater than -2.5 and osteopenia is classified by scores in the range of -1 to -2.5. The journal states:

Physical activity has been found to have a significant influence on reducing the effects of osteoporosis. As stress of force is placed on the bone (possibly through exercise), osteocytes are activated which will increase bone mass over time. Conversely, decreased load will result in decreased bone mass over time. Research has shown that greater loads and lower repetitions result in greater gains in bone mass, however, any type and amount of loading and resistance has been found to be effective. Physical activity, especially an exercise program involving weight bearing and resisted exercise, has been shown to be effective in preventing the onset of osteoporosis, as well as reversing the effects, if present. Individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis must be cautious when beginning an exercise program. As the disease progresses, certain exercises and positions are contraindicated due to the risk of injury, or more specifically, fracture. Physical therapists are specially trained in exercise prescription and will be able to develop an exercise program that is safe and effective in preventing or treating the effects of osteoporosis. In addition to strengthening, a physical therapist will also address other key topics   associated with osteoporosis. These will most likely include posture, balance, strength, flexibility and nutrition.

If you have the symptoms as discussed in Part 1 of this two-part series, be sure see your medical practitioner as soon as possible. Osteoporosis is a progressive and irreversible disease.

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Spinal Research Foundation

Spinal Research Foundation

Last week I attended a seminar called “Osteoporosis: Taking Steps Towards Bone Health” sponsored by the Virginia Spine Institute and the Spinal Research Foundation. The presenter was Christopher R. Good, MD. Osteoporosis is a serious disease where bone mineral density is reduced. It is a myth that bone loss is not serious. It is a progressive disease and irreversible. Even a minor trauma can cause a debilitating fracture. As a person with osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis), “irreversible” scared me.  Currently there is medication being developed to grow bone, but Dr. Good was not aware of when that might become available.

The number of people affected is staggering: 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime. There are 1.5 million fractures annually in the following categories:

  • Vertebral fractures: 700,000+
  • Hip fractures: 300,000+
  • Wrist fractures: 200,000+
  • Other fractures: 300,000+

Not only is the disease itself a problem, the costs associated with the disease are very high. Most patients with hip fractures are hospitalized for a week. One in four adults who lived independently before the hip fracture has to stay in a nursing home for at least a year after their injury. One in five hip fracture patients dies within a year of injury. I recall my father passing away within a few days of his hip fracture surgery, although he was never tested for bone density so it remains unknown as to whether or not he had osteoporosis. But mother’s osteoporosis showed prominently with the dowager’s hump.

If you fall in any of the following categories, it behooves you to take note. The risk factors are:

  • Female
  • Thin or small frame
  • Low body weight
  • Smoking
  • Advanced age
  • History of fragility fracture
  • Family history — primary relative with osteoporosis or fragility fracture
  • Post menopausal — women can lose up to 20% of their bone mass in 5 to 7 years
  • Amenorrhea
  • Eating disorders
  • Diet low in calcium
  • Certain medications
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Ethnicity — Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian-American women

What action can you take if you are at risk for osteoporosis? Sure, you can take medication, but there are side effects to prescription medication. Part 2 will discuss your options.

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