Friday, March 5, 2010

Osteoporosis - Make No Bones About It

Osteoporosis (osteo = bone + porosis = porous) is a common bone disease that affects 44 million people in the United States. Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle and break easily. It can affect people at any age, but is most commonly seen in the aging population. One out of every two women and one out of every four men over the age of fifty will have an osteoporosis–related fracture in their lifetime.

Bones provide structural support for movement and organ protection and storage of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and carbonate. When the body is not supplied with adequate amounts of these nutrients, the minerals are mobilized out of the bones. Throughout a lifetime, old bone is removed and new bone is added to the skeleton. In younger individuals the rate of new bone formation is higher than the rate of bone removal. As people age the rate of bone loss is greater than new bone formation which leads to a decrease in bone mass and ultimately osteoporosis.
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Hormone Replacement and the Risk of Blood Clots
Orally administered estrogens increase risk of blood clotting. This is because the hormone is absorbed from the gut directly into the hepatic circulation, meaning it first gets processed by the liver prior to being circulated throughout the body. This is called first pass metabolism.

The result is that the liver is hit with a sudden blast of hormone that it is required to process – this is not the normal physiologic routine, in which hormones are secreted into the blood stream, distributed into the body tissues, and finally processed by the liver.

First pass metabolism of hormones is not natural and one result is that the liver makes more chemicals of inflammation and there is an increase in the factors that encourage blood clotting.
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