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Osteoporosis – an under-recognized health issue

Osteoporosis – an under-recognized health issue

by: Dr. Supp

Osteoporosis – an under-recognized health issue

In osteoporosis, bones become weak and brittle due to their demineralization.

It is a huge global problem with an estimated more than 200 million people living with it.

It is significantly more common in older adults, with a prevalence of about 14% in people above the age of 50.

It is also more common in postmenopausal women, with a prevalence of about 30%.

it can be managed with great success in a large number of cases with lifestyle interventions, dietary supplements.

Osteoporosis causes

There are numerous causes of osteoporosis. Some risk factors are modifiable/manageable, and others are not:

Modifiable risk factors:

Vitamin D deficiency
 due to low sun exposure, or low dietary intake, is one of the leading causes.

Studies show that in many countries, the majority of adults are living with its deficiency.

For example, in middle-east, in countries like Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, as many as 60-65% of adults are vitamin D deficient.
Sedentary lifestyle – becomes a significant issue as age progresses, and the ability to exercise is compromised. In addition, many older adults are living with various chronic disorders.
Heavy smoking and alcohol abuse
Certain chronic diseases – like diabetes.
Use of medications

As age progresses, a number of conditions start influencing bone health, like eating disorders, immobilization, chronic diseases, renal diseases, gastrointestinal issues, organ transplants, and much more.

Non-modifiable risk factors

people have little control over these factors.
Estrogen deficiency (female gender)
Genetic factors

Osteoporosis symptoms

Studies show that apart from 14% of people aged 50 or more living with osteoporosis, another 30% have low bone density.

It means that almost half of the global population of older adults need to take measures.

Regretfully, unlike other disorders, osteoporosis may not produce any symptoms in the early stages.

Some of the common signs of osteoporosis are:

  • Bones that break more readily than expected
  • Backache due to vertebra collapse or fracture
  • Stooped posture
  • Loss of height in recent years

As osteoporosis is symptomless in its early stages, it is better to follow specific screening guidelines.

Regretfully, there is no global consensus on how often to go through screening. However, most guidelines recommend screening after the age of 50. If needed, one should consider BMD (bone mineral density) testing.

Role of vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 in osteoporosis

Since vitamin D deficiency is so widespread globally, there is little doubt that its adequate intake could be the simplest way or reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

However, since most individuals fail to implement lifestyle interventions, a more straightforward way of managing vitamin D deficiency could be through supplementation.
Numerous reasons cause osteoporosis, so vitamin D3 supplementation will not help in all cases.

However, it will undoubtedly help in the majority of cases, helping to strengthen the bones. Meta-analysis of clinical studies shows that vitamin D3 supplementation alone can prevent more than 30% of osteoporosis-related fractures.
Another vital nutrient that may significantly help postmenopausal women is vitamin K2.

Meta-analysis of numerous clinical studies confirms its benefits. It may help maintain and improve bone density and thus prevent fractures.

dr. supp israel