Osteoporosis and Natural Progesterone cream.- Discover how natural progesterone is used for osteoporosis
IS OSTEOPOROSIS IN YOUR FUTURETake this quiz to see Risk factors you cannot control
- Do you have a family history of Osteoporosis?
- Are your ancestors from the British Isles, northern Europe, China, or Japan?
- Are you very fair skinned?
- Are you small boned?
- Are you over 35?
- Have you had your ovaries removed?
- Did you breast feed your baby?
- Are you allergic to milk and milk products?
- Is your daily routine stressful?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you drink alcohol?
- Do you avoid milk and cheese in your diet?
- Do you get very little exercise?
- Do you drink a lot of soft drinks?
- Is your diet high in protein?
If you answered "yes" to two of the above questions, you are at risk for osteoporosis. The more questions you answered "yes" to, the higher your risk of developing osteoporosis in the future. The good news for you is that risk does not have to mean reality. Evidence from many clinical studies strongly suggests osteoporosis is a preventable disease.
As you can see from the quiz, there are several things you can do right now to help prevent contracting osteoporosis in the future. But you need to start now.
To really understand the condition called osteoporosis, you need to understand the physiology of bone.
WHAT ARE BONES MADE OF.
Bone is made up of calcium and phosphorous crystals, imbedded in a matrix of protein fibers. The calcium gives the bone its strength and rigidity, while the protein collagen, mostly makes the bone somewhat flexible. Other materials present in bone include fluoride, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and citrate. These other elements help hold the calcium and phosphorus crystals together
HOW IS BONE FORMED
Bone is living tissue, and is constantly being broken down and reformed, like all tissue in the body. Bone formation is needed for growth, for repair of microscopic fractures that result from everyday stress, and for the replacement of worn-out bone. begins with bone breakdown. Bone absorbing cells called osteoclasts dig cavities in the inner surface of the bone microscopic cavities. Next, bone building cells called osteoblasts begin filling in these cavities with new bone cells. These cells begin the bone rebuilding process by first producing the collagen matrix. This is followed by a laying down of the calcium and phosphorus crystals within the matrix a process called bone mineralization. Each year, between 10% and 30% of your entire skeleton is remodeled in this way.
IS CALCIUM A KEY FACTOR?
Calcium is essential for muscle contraction, blood clotting, plus brain and nerve function, as well as being a key ingredient in the bone demineralization process. If you don't get enough calcium, your body is in negative calcium balance. To correct the imbalance, the body's hormones will release calcium from the skeleton into the bloodstream to make calcium available for nerves and muscles. If there is a long term deficiency, the skeletal storage depot can become depleted of its calcium, leaving porous, brittle, breakable bone the condition known as osteoporosis.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BONE?
Structurally, there are basically two different types of bone cortical and trabecular. Cortical bone is very dense and solid. The long, hard bones of your arms and legs are mostly of this type. Trabecular bone, on the other hand, is much more porous, honeycombed with many minute spaces. Every bone has both types, with the porous, trabecular bone on the inside, and solid, cortical bone on the outside, though in different proportions depending on which bone it is. Spinal vertebrae, for example, are mostly porous, trabecular bone, with a thin, cortical shell. Since osteoporosis affects trabecular bone more than cortical bone, the spine is one of the first areas to be affected by osteoporosis.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING OSTEOPOROSIS?
During childhood and adolescence, bone builders form more new tissue than bone eaters take away. But sometime after age 30, bone eaters begin to outnumber bone builders and loss exceeds gain. "Your skeleton is like a bank account," says Dr. Carolyn Becker, an endocrinologist who heads the Osteoporosis Center of Western Connecticut at Danbury Hospital. "You put in bone deposits during your first 30 years or so; then you start to withdraw. The bigger your account, the more you have to draw on for the rest of your life.
After menopause, loss of estrogen will accelerate calcium loss in your body, and you may become an osteoporosis victim. If you have had your ovaries removed, your chances of getting osteoporosis are increased to 50/50. If your mother or grandmother became noticeably shorter with age, became stooped, or suffered hip or wrist fractures, your chances of having osteoporosis are also very high.
Americans - 80 percent of them women-- suffer from the ailment. Although it strikes both sexes, women are most affected because of their dramatic rate of bone loss in early menopause, when estrogen production wanes. Unfortunately, there are no early symptoms the disease steals silently into victims' lives until their bones are as fragile as dry twigs.
Although osteoporosis affects half of American women over age 50 and most by age 75, "women of all ages remain ignorant of it," says Dr. Robert Heaney, professor of medicine at Omaha's Crighton University. 'They may think of cancer and heart disease as threats and be unaware of the risk of osteoporosis, which is substantially greater. According to a Gallup Poll conducted for the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 80 percent of women failed to link osteoporosis with the 300,000 hip fractures, 500,000 vertebral fractures and 200,000 wrist fractures the disease causes each year. Nor did they know that some 50,000 women die yearly from blood clots and pneumonia, complications of hospitalization for hip fractures, more than succumb to breast cancer, a disease women are more likely to fear.
WHY DON'T MEN GET OSTEOPOROSIS
Some men do develop osteoporosis, but in far fewer numbers than women, and at a later age. Most men have more bone mass to begin with, and suffer slower bone loss with age than women. They usually weigh more and have larger muscles than women, consume more calcium and get more exercise. Unlike women, men do not have a sudden decline in the sex hormones that protect bone . . . their testosterone declines gradually with age. (One exception is the prevalence of osteoporosis in male patients with chronic alcoholism.) Osteoporosis is painful, disfiguring, and debilitating. When it has advanced to the point where 30% to 40% of the bone mass has been lost, the vertebrae start to collapse, eventually leading to the stooped posture called "dowager's hump." Loss in height can be as much as 5" to 8". Clothing no longer fits, the torso is no longer in proportion to the legs and arms, and strangers stare. Bone fractures and broken hips are also part of the osteoporosis syndrome. According to one expert, " . . . in the United States, 80% of patients who sustain hip fractures totaling about 200,000 a year have pre existing osteoporosis. In approximately 20% of such cases, the patient dies within three months." Many older women with osteoporosis are afraid to do routine errands during the winter months they know that icy pavement and a lack of balance are a dangerous combination.
HOW IS OSTEOPOROSIS DIAGNOSED
It has always been a problem to diagnose osteoporosis early enough to prevent real damage. Most diagnostic methods are not definitive. Sophisticated tests, including radionuclide tracer methods, blood and urine calcium levels, and calcium balance determinations are not able to detect bone loss in early states. And conventional x rays can't diagnose it until it's too late bone loss isn't visible until about 35% of the mass has been lost. In fact, special technology must be used to diagnose osteoporosis in order to discover it before it has advanced to the point of possible fracture. You might ask your doctor if photon densitometry equipment is available in your area. As another alternative, a new mail service for physicians has been introduced that uses computers to analyze conventional x rays and evaluate bone loss.
For more information, your doctor should contact: Dr. Charles Colbert Clinical Radiology Testing Laboratory, Kings Yard P.O. Box 478 Yellow Springs, OH 45387 Telephone: (513) 426 6360
SECRET SIGNALS FOR WOMEN
From PREVENTION "magazine, November, 1994
Is your body saying that your bones are weak? Check your mirror. Check your calendar. They may be telling you that your bones are pulling a disappearing act that could lead to disabling fractures later.
Two recent studies suggest that prematurely gray hair and irregular menstrual cycles may be secret signals of osteoporosis. But at least they signal while there's still time to take action against the problem. Graying is called premature when half of the hair is changed by age 40. And researchers suspect that the genes that control early graying are the same as, or are very close to, those that control bone density. And when scientists at the Maine Center for Osteoporosis Research, in Bangor, scanned the bones and gray hair histories of 60 people, they found that those who went prematurely gray naturally (not from another disease) had four times the chance of low bone densities than did people whose locks hadn't lost their hue (76th Annual Meeting, Endocrine Society, June 15 18, 1994). Other clues in science suggest a bone loss/ gray-hair connection, too. "The most common associations with premature gray hair are thyroid disease and premature menopause. Both are associated with bone loss," says study leader Clifford Rose, MD., director of the Maine Center, who presented this study. Right now, there's no evidence that people who gray later in life have increased risk of low bone densities. "If you're 50 now and went gray by 40, it might be worth getting a bone density scan to find out what your bone mass is," says Dr. Rosen. (To get information that can help demystify these tests, write to m National Osteoporosis Foundation, P.O. Box 96173, Dept. BDT, Washington, DC 20077 7456).
The other signal that your bones may be suffering is irregular menstrual cycles. "Some 35 year old women who have had irregular cycles most of their lives have bone density that is equivalent to that of a 50 or 60 year old woman," says Ferilynn C. Prior, MD., professor of endocrinology at the University of British Columbia. Irregular,means that cycles are too long or too short. But periods are also likely to be abnormal if they give you absolutely no clues that they're con coming (a hint that you're not ovulating, even though your cycles seem regular).
The most common problem when cycles are abnormal is a lack of progesterone, suggests Dr. Prior. And when she and her research team gave that hormone for 10 days a month plus one gram of calcium daily to 61 women with menstrual cycle disturbances, their bone densities increased by 2 percent. Fourteen women (with cycle disturbances) on placebo pills lost 2 percent of their bone density during the year of the study that's the kind of loss usually seen in women only after menopause (American Journal of Medicine, June 1994).
Other calculations from the study suggest it's both the calcium and the progesterone that are helping here. There's no evidence that oral contraceptives would prevent bone loss. "One of the things we couldn't answer before was whether a perfectly healthy Premenopausal women who has lots of calcium, who exercises regularly and who has normal weight could lose bone if she has a mixed up period. And she can. This confirms that 'menopausal osteoporosis' can begin long before menopause," says Dr. Prior. Other studies suggest there's still an important place for other osteoporosis prevention and treatment strategies. In the following article, Dr. John Lee and many other doctors say Progesterone is the key to maintaining healthy bones (despite the oftheard advice that women take estrogen "replacement".
IS NATURAL PROGESTERONE INDICATED FOR OSTEOPOROSIS?
Most medical authorities tell female patients who are post menopausal that osteoporosis is inevitable if they live long enough. A physician in Mill Valley, California has proven that this often repeated statement concerning osteoporosis is simply untrue. For the past 11 years, John Lee, MD., who made this statement, has advised female patients who are 60 years of age or older to use the natural progesterone cream. The results of his ongoing study with 68 women is noteworthy. All have experienced new bone density ranging from 5 to 40 percent for women who have been in the program from six to 48 months.
Dr. Lee advises the use of magnesium, calcium and exogenous estrogen for most hysterectomized/ oophorectomized women. Before using natural progesterone in his program, he prescribed only minerals and estrogen without observing the remarkable results his patients now experience with a cream containing natural progesterone. During the past seven years of clinical experience with his osteoporotic group of patients, Dr. Lee has proven that osteoporosis is not only preventable, but is also reversible in most cases by appropriate supplementation with natural progesterone, and natural estrogen in most cases.
His therapeutic program utilizing a low dose estrogen compound and transdermal progesterone cream has resulted in a significant increase of bone mineral density in both cortical bone (arm and leg) and trabecular bone (spine and ribs). His results also indicate that his therapy is successful even several decades after menopause. One of his patients who is 82 years of age has been using natural progesterone treatment for four years has a greater than 40 percent new bone density as proven by dual photon absorptiometry (x ray like pictures of bone density). None of the 68 women in his therapeutic program has experienced adverse side effects. Osteoporosis is seen, therefore, to be not so much an age related idea as it is mainly a condition of hormone deficiency which is correctable with the use of natural progesterone, exogenous estrogen replacement, and proper diet with exercise.