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Understand Osteoporosis - Information on prevention, therapy, and treatment option with calcium.

The "Brittle Bones" Scourge

Osteoporosis, the chronic loss of bone mass in the human body resulting in brittleness and fracture, is one of the least understood and most hotly debated chronic degenerative diseases in medical science today. Its actual cause is not fully known, although numerous theories abound. What is known is that the National Osteoporosis Foundation says that 29 million Americans suffer from this "Silent Disease" and millions more currently have the debilitating disease, but are unaware as the symptoms are most times undetectable until a bone breaks. Some people will overlook the pain they are experiencing as arthritis, and will not find the truth until a fall jolt, or even just a simple cough snaps the brittle bone within.

 


Every year the disease causes 1.5 million painful, often life threatening fractures. In fact, almost one in two women will experience osteopathic failure. The most commonly fractured bones are the spinal vertebrae [referred to as "spontaneously crushed vertebrae, "due to the fact that the vertebrae simply crumble-Ed.], the bones in the wrist, and the hipbones. Due to the brittleness of the bones involved, and difficulty in healing them, these fractures usually bring independent living to a screeching halt.

Researchers now estimate that the incidence of fractures requiring hospitalization doubles every five years after the age of fifty. In fact, women can lose up to 20% of total bone mass following menopause. Worse yet, up to one-third of those who endure hip fractures due to this dreaded disease could die within one year. Furthermore, over 50% of fracture victims remain in need of assistance for the remainder of their lives.  

The prognosis for this terrible disease is ominous.

According to osteoporosis researcher and author Betty Kamen, Ph.D."More women die from osteoporosis-related fractures than from breast cancer, cervix and uterus combined. Osteopathic fractures are the cause of over 200,000 deaths annually in the U.S., which is about one-tenth of all deaths. Additionally, health care costs for osteoporatic fractures alone were nearly $14 billion.

The health care system is becoming so overburdened with cases of osteoporosis, some experts believe this disease alone could bankrupt the Medicare system. The growth rate of the disease among elderly Americans of both sexes is now exponential. According to Professor William A. Peck, Dean of the Washington University College of Medicine. "The incidence of osteoporosis increases as the population ages. It is not a linear or geometric increase, but exponential, that is, potency times potency." One fallacy that continues to be pushed in the popular media is that osteoporosis is strictly a women's disease. It's true that the vast brunt of the bane of osteoporosis falls on women. However, according to bone density specialist Dr. Eric Orwall of the Oregon Health Sciences University, "Men get osteoporosis just like women do. It's just that the frequency is greater with women."

How much greater? According to recent research figures, 80 percent of all victims are women, whereas 20 percent are male.

Osteoporosis is not only a condition afflicting older adults and women who are post-menopausal, but also affects middle-aged Americans by the thousands, driving medical care costs higher and higher and sending shock waves through the health insurance industry. At the current rate of increase, the best estimate for just fifty years from now is a staggering annual medical bill of $82 billion just from Osteoporosis claims alone.

Little wonder then that medical science is now searching frantically for a solution to this extremely painful and agonizing illness.

In the past few years, articles in the popular press have hailed the FDA'S trials and subsequent approval of several new expensive, synthetic pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis. Unfortunately for the osteoporosis sufferer, these "wonder drugs" come with painful and even debilitating side effects that the media has downplayed. And while the large drug companies enjoy the media's blind support and the FDA's stamp of approval hailing the medicines as along awaited"milestone" in the battle against this dangerous and deadly chronic degenerative disease, they continue to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the mass marketing and popularization of their potentially dangerous product. This troubles us ...and should concern you, too.

 

 

 

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Osteoporosis is a silent disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Bone loss usually occurs slowly over time. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress without symptoms until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist.
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