From Women’s Health, January 2005 Q: I’m a 70-yr old female. What can I do naturally to improve my bone health and vertebrae deterioration? (H.G., Schooleys Mt., NJ)

Osteoporosis, which means “porous bone,” is a bone-thinning disease that has affected over 200 million people worldwide. It has been called the “silent disease” because it comes on with few or no warning signs. It is the major cause of fractures, particularly of the spine, hip, ribs and wrist in older persons. Common symptoms include a loss of height, a hunched back, and back pain. While the condition itself is not fatal, it makes bones more susceptible to fractures and can make moving around increasingly difficult. It is important to note that osteoporosis is NOT merely a loss of calcium from the bone. That condition is called osteomalacia. Osteoporotic bone is losing not only inorganic (calcium mineral) density but organic bone matrix made up primarily of collagen and specific proteins.

Q: I’m 50 and starting the “change of life.” I’m very upset that I can’t make a decision about whether or not to take hormones. If I don’t take hormones maybe my bones will all shatter. But if I do take hormones maybe I’ll get uterine cancer. So maybe I should get a hysterectomy. But I could still get breast cancer. Help!

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