In Germany alone, more than 8 million people suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that has been placed on the list of the 10 most common diseases worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In general, the term osteoporosis refers to a bone disease affecting the entire skeleton. This disease, also known as bone loss, is associated with a decrease in bone mass that goes beyond the normal age-related measure and a deterioration in the bone structure.
Causes: How does osteoporosis occur?
In 95 percent of all cases, the causes of osteoporosis are unknown. This form of bone loss is called primary osteoporosis.
Often women are affected immediately after menopause as well as men and women from the age of 70. Therefore, one speaks of postmenopausal osteoporosis or of ageing osteoporosis.
In addition to age and gender, triggers are also genetic predispositions, insufficient calcium intake, vitamin D or vitamin K deficiency, underweight, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.
Furthermore, osteoporosis can also be triggered as a secondary disease due to hormone or metabolic disorders or through the long-term use of certain medications.
Symptoms: How does osteoporosis make itself noticeable?
The creeping onset of osteoporosis ensures that the disease remains unnoticed for a long time. Only when the bone mass has decreased to such an extent that the bones are porous and unstable can there be pain and fractures without a recognisable cause.
Often affected by fractures are:
- Femoral neck bone
- Elbow and radial bone near the wrist
- Humerus bone
- Pelvic region
Diagnosis: How can osteoporosis be recognised?
Although sudden ruptures in old age suggest that osteoporosis is suspected, further examinations must be carried out for a final diagnosis. The measurement of bone density with X-rays plays an important role. For this purpose, the density of the bones is measured using osteodensitometry and compared with the average values of a healthy 30-year-old.
A deviation of -1 to -2.5 is called mild osteoporosis. On the other hand, if the deviation is greater than -2.5, one speaks of moderate osteoporosis and in the case of additional fractures. Computer tomography provides comparable results, although this is associated with a higher radiation dose.
Therapy: What special osteoporosis medications are available?
The aim of osteoporosis treatment is to have a positive influence on bone metabolism and to relieve pain. Various special osteoporosis medications are available for this.
In addition to calcitonin and oestrogen preparations, agents from the group of biphosphonates are mainly used. They resemble the body's own substances, which are responsible for the internal bone architecture. This is an attempt to stimulate bone formation and thus stabilise or even increase bone density.
Which natural vital substances help with osteoporosis?
In addition to treatment with conventional medication, the supply of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 plays a crucial role in the treatment of osteoporosis.
If an adequate supply via food or sunlight is not possible, the deficit of vitamin D3 can be compensated for by taking special vital substance preparations. It is important to know that vitamin D production through the skin decreases with age.
Therefore, as part of osteoporosis therapy, it is advisable to use both calcium and vitamin D supplements. For calcium, a dose of 1000 to 1500 milligrams per day is recommended.
Vitamin D is primarily responsible for the absorption of calcium from the intestine. But it is vitamin K2 that is responsible for the incorporation of calcium into the bones. This has only recently been discovered.
Vitamin K2 activates the GLA protein osteocalcin, which is necessary to incorporate calcium into the bones. Vitamin K2 is found in animal foods such as meat, offal, butter, egg yolk, and in certain cheeses, but only in very small quantities. The best source of natural vitamin K2 is the traditional natto dish made from fermented soybeans.
Prevention: How can you prevent osteoporosis?
The most important calcium suppliers include milk and milk products as well as calcium-rich mineral water and green vegetables. In addition, risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, and coffee should be restricted. Thereby, osteoporosis prophylaxis begins in childhood, because the stronger the bones are built up, the later the age-related degradation will be noticeable.
Tips: What else you can do for osteoporosis:
- Of course, movement plays an important role in both treatment and prophylaxis. It not only actively promotes bone formation but also ensures that the skeleton is able to withstand pain without stress thanks to its strengthened muscles.
- In addition to calcium and vitamin D, vitamin C should also be supplemented since it is involved in protein synthesis in the bones.
- Magnesium deficiency can often be observed in osteoporosis, which should be supplemented accordingly. The elements copper and zinc, which are important for maintaining bone density, are just as important.