Who Is At Risk For Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, meaning “porous bones”, is a condition that causes bones to gradually thin and weaken, leaving them susceptible to fractures. With an aging population, osteoporosis becomes increasingly common in America. After age 50, 50% of women and 25% of men are at considerable risk for osteoporosis.
In the U.S., more than 10 million men and women have osteoporosis. An additional 34 million people have low bone mass and are at high risk of developing osteoporosis. About 1.5 million fractures occur every year because of osteoporosis.
Inflammation Accelerates Bone Loss
Osteoporosis, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, is not an ordinary consequence of aging. Rather, chronic degenerative diseases usually develop from long-term nutritional, lifestyle, and environmental imbalances that result in buildup of inflammatory toxins.
Although the precise cause of osteoporosis is unknown, the process by which bone becomes porous is well known. Bone remodeling is regulated by a diversity of hormones and inflammatory mediators. When the body is open to inflammatory toxins, bone breakdown is overtaking bone buildup or bone resorption takes place at a faster rate than bone production. Both processes could result in bone loss and osteoporosis.
Clinical studies have shown that buildup inflammatory cytokines are primary mediators of the enhanced bone loss at menopause. Different studies also report increases in the risk of developing osteoporosis in various inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), periodontitis, and multiple myeloma.
In periodontal disease, oral inflammation results in destruction of oral bone and periodontal ligament, ultimately leading to tooth loss. Additional evidence indicates that a variety of inflammatory cytokines stimulate osteoclasts, bone cells that remove the bone tissue and cause bone resorption.
Diabetes Drugs May Thin The Bones
A popular class of drugs for type 2 diabetes, i.e., thiazolidinediones (marketed as Avandia and Actos), had already been linked to heart problems. Recent study showed that using these diabetes drugs for more than a year thins the bones and increases the risk of fractures in women with type 2 diabetes, who are already at higher risk before taking the medications.
Control Inflammation May Prevent Bone Loss
In addition to calcium, vitamin D, and physical therapy, estrogen-containing hormone replacement therapy is very efficient in reversing the impact of menopause on bone density. But it is currently out of favor due to unwanted side effects, including increased risk of stroke, vein thrombosis and, possibly, dementia. Additional treatments include anti-resorptive or anabolic medications.
Based on the findings that chronic inflammation promotes bone breakdown and suppresses bone buildup, control of inflammation is viewed as a new approach to preventing bone loss and osteoporosis.
By keeping inflammation under control, the new approach may:
— Restore balanced growth and function of bone cells;
— Promote bone formation with normal structure and strength;
— Support healthy hormone balance for bone metabolism;
— Remove or deactivate bone-destroying cells.