By Dr. Hyun K. Lee

Contributing Writer

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that many people don’t take seriously enough. Often, you’ll have no advanced warning of its onset until you have a bone fracture. It is an ailment that moves from bone breakage to artificial replacements to wheelchair. It limits your mobility and exercise, which can open the door for other diseases like diabetes or stroke. Paying attention to the causes of osteoporosis and doing your best to prevent are two very important steps for lasting bone health. 

Osteoporosis affects more women than men, due to the fact that men naturally have higher bone density than women. Heredity plays a key role in determining if one inherits osteoporosis, but in men both heavy drinking and use of steroid medication bring about this disease. In both sexes, rheumatism, multiple sclerosis (MS), hepatitis, diabetes, lupus and depression all help to usher in osteoporosis as well. For women, the average person reaching the age of 85 already has some spinal compression. 

Let’s consider our bones as a big storage warehouse for phosphorous, magnesium and calcium (inorganic materials), all of which it needs to remain strong. When we are young, our bones are growing and building up these storerooms filled with essential nutrients. As we get older, however, the rest of our body taps into this storage supply to support its function, thus destroying cells and depleting the nutrients needed for proper bone health. Common causes of this are lack of nutrition, anxiety, emotional stress, steroid medications and depression.

Another cause of osteoporosis is being underweight. Women who strive to be skinny, especially those who are not naturally on the thinner side, will most likely see an earlier development of osteoporosis due to their lack of proper nutrition weakening their bones earlier in life. 

The good news is that osteoporosis is easy to avoid. If you build your bone cells, the inorganic will return to the big storage warehouse and keep your bones strong and lasting. Supplements to build bone health are effective, but it is most important to exercise and eat according to your constitutional type. Be sure you are getting the nutrition your body needs. If you are already on the road to osteoporosis, acupuncture and herbs can help by building the kidney and liver to make strong bones. 

In your journey to health and vitality, remember not to forget your bones. They are the frame that supports the beautiful picture of your healthy body. 

Dr. Lee’s office is located in the Viborg Medical Center, 2030 Viborg Road, Solvang. The clinic is held every Wednesday only. Dr. Lee also has offices in Los Angeles, and Atascadero. To make an appointment in the Solvang office, call 805-693-5162.