Where Are We in Osteoporosis Research?

Osteoporosis is a lot more common than people think. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, at least 10 million Americans might already have the disease. About 44 million have low bone density, which is a significant risk factor.

However, many are undiagnosed for two reasons. One, the symptoms of osteoporosis, such as back pain, can be like other skeletal conditions. Second, some don’t know they need to test their bone density or are not keeping up with their checkups.

Either way, osteoporosis, which is the weakening of the brittle bones, can be a severe health problem that affects many. For this reason, scientists have been conducting studies about it.


1. Chiropractic Can Help People with Lower Back Pain

As the bones become brittle, they can cause the compression of the nerves, especially in the lumbar area or the lower back. It can then cause chronic back pain.

Besides medications, back pain treatment such as chiropractic might help. In a 2012 study involving an 83-year-old patient with comorbidities, including osteoporosis, experienced reduced back pain through spinal manipulative therapy.

Professional chiropractors perform tests, such as bone density, which can help patients know the severity of their condition. They can also adjust the therapy, depending on the progress of the disease.

2. Air Pollution Can Impact Bone Health

Air pollution and bone health can be two different things, but a 2020 study found a connection. The Barcelona Institute for Global Health associated decreased bone mass, which can boost the risk of osteoporosis, and ambient air pollution. The correlation is more significant when they studied particulate matter (PM 2.5).

The results are still inconclusive, while types of research such as this are still new. However, some believe that pollution can lead to cellular damage because of higher free radicals and oxidative stress. These changes can impact the way the bones absorb nutrients.


3. Triclosan Can Also Increase the Risk

In 2019, researchers learned that a common chemical found in many body care and healthcare products called triclosan can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

For the study, the team looked into over 1,800 data of women who took part in a national survey. Those whose urine contained higher levels of the chemical were more likely to have issues with bone health later.

Triclosan is a substance found in many products, from hand sanitizers to toothpaste. But it is also an endocrine disruptor, which means it affects the production of hormones.

Thyroid hormones have a direct impact on skeletal development or bone metabolism. For instance, it can help regulate the speed at which the body replaces bone loss.

4. Mediterranean Diet Can Decrease Bone Loss

The Mediterranean diet is famous for being one of the healthiest meal plans today. Possibly adding a feather to its cap is its ability to decrease bone loss for those with osteoporosis.

This is the finding of the University of East Anglia researchers in 2018. For the research, they recruited over 1,000 older people, who they then separated into two groups.

The impact of the diet was more significant among those with bone density loss, especially in the femoral neck. The weakening of this area can boost the odds of hip fractures later.

People with osteoporosis or prone to it need to work closely with their care specialists, from doctors to chiropractors. Nevertheless, these studies offer hope that those with the disease can manage it with prompt intervention.

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