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Osteoporosis: The Silent Disease

Facts About osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease causing weak and fragile bones affecting over 10 million people in the United States. Bone health has become an issue in this country with another 18 million people at risk of developing osteoporosis and 34 million at risk of osteopenia, which is 1 step below osteoporosis.  Because bone loss is a slow and painless there are usually no symptoms to indicate someone is developing osteoporosis. Oftentimes people aren’t diagnosed until they have a fracture, and by that point its too late.

Osteoporosis causes an increased frequency of fractures. The most common being fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Each year 1.5 million fractures are attributed to the disease with total estimated costs over $17 billion in acute and long term care expenses. It also creates a diminished quality of life for someone suffering from the disease, especially post fracture.

Although osteoporosis can affect anyone, over 80% of those suffering from it are females. Asian women, especially 70+, are at this highest risk of osteoporosis and related fractures.

What Are The Risk Factors

The following risk factors increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. Having one of the risk factors or even a few does not mean that you will 100% get the disease, it just increases your odds. There are 2 different types of risk factors, fixed and modifiable.

Fixed Risks – The risks cannot be changed, but people still need to be aware of them to take the proper steps to reduce bone mineral loss and include the following:

  • Age – The older you are –the greater the risk
  • Gender – Women are more at risk
  • Family History
  • Previous Fractures
  • Ethnicity – Asian and Caucasians are at higher risk
  • Menopause
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Modifiable Risks – These risk factors are ones that you have control over and can change to reduce your risk.

  • Alcohol – Eliminate or Reduce Intake
  • Smoking – You shouldn’t be smoking anyway! Don’t you see the commercial of the lady talking through her throat tube? Come on!
  • Low Body Mass Index – Being underweight increases risk
  • Poor Nutrition – Not getting enough minerals in your diet
  • Vitamin D Deficiency – Over 50% of women diagnosed had low D levels
  • Eating Disorders
  • Insufficient Exercise – Weight bearing exercise increases bone density
  • Not Eating Enough Protein – Protein is 50% of your bone.
  • Low Calcium Intake – Calcium is most important mineral for bone health. If you don’t get enough from your diet consider supplementation.


How to Prevent Osteoporosis

While it is not entirely preventable, you can take steps to greatly reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.

  • First ,check with your doctor and ask for a Bone Mineral Density Test of BMD to determine your current state of bone health.
  • Eat enough calcium. Get 1,200mg per day at least. Eat a lot of greens: collard greens, turnip greens, Chinese cabbage, kale, okra, dandelion greens, and broccoli. Spinach, although it has calcium, it contains oxalates which rob the mineral from your body so it is not advisable on a osteoporosis diet.
  • Exercising, especially resistance training (NOT CARDIO) will help increase your bone density.
  • Get enough Vitamin D. The main way we create Vitamin D is from sunlight exposure. When the rays hit our skin our bodies naturally create this vitamin. But most of us don’t get outside enough and when we do we lather on toxic sunscreen that blocks the production of vitamin D. Eat a high vitamin D diet with foods such as wild salmon, grass fed beef, egg yolks, dairy, and organ meat.
  • Don’t Drink or Smoke. If you are at high risk or have osteoporosis cut these out immediately.
  • Cut the Coffee. You lose about 6mg of calcium for every 100mg of caffeine. If you get adequate calcium in your diet a cup of coffee won’t kill you, but if you drink 3+ cups daily you are putting yourself at risk.
  • Ditch Sugar. Sugar is bad for you on all fronts, but it actually depletes your body of phosphorus, which is an important mineral for calcium absorption.

Final Thought

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that affects millions of people without knowing until it’s already too late. It is a gradual disease, however, if you start to see loses in your Bone Mineral Density from yearly testing you can take steps to halt or slow its progress. Weak and frail bones are scary ; breaking a hip is often the start of the slippery slope of losing your independence. So go back over the risk factors above and start preventing  this disease by avoiding the modifiable factors and getting enough exercise, calcium, and vitamin D.

If you need further assistance then connect with me on Facebook. I will be more than happy to assist you.

6 Fitness “Truths” That Are Complete BS


When it comes to the world of fitness and nutrition we’ve pretty much heard it all. There’s a lot of old wives tales about fitness and a lot of these common misconceptions are holding many people back. They are keeping them fat, they are keeping their progress stagnant, and they are frustrating the hell out of them! You’ve probably heard at least some of these.  Anyway, let’s get down to it.

  • Women Shouldn’t Lift Weights

Women Should lift Weight

This one I hear a lot and it bothers the hell out of me. It has turned the cardio area into a safe haven for women who are afraid to venture out into the weight room for fear of “getting bulky”. This one is nonsense because women, in general, have 1/20-1/30th the testosterone of men needed to achieve big muscles. Resistance training will give you strong and lean muscles and a firm body.  But it sure as hell isn’t going to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger.
People (men included) who do nothing but long drawn out cardio sessions end up what we call “skinny fat”. This is a body type where you look good in clothes but not so much in a bathing suit. Not overweight, but there is no definition in the muscles. I do resistance training with every single one of my female clients. And they are strong, fit, and look great.
  • I Worked Out Hard So I Earned That (Fill in the Crap Food Here)
No. I’m sorry but if you’re trying to lose body fat you don’t get to eat more calories because you burned a lot. The calories you burned were crappy food choices from the past. It makes no sense to pile on more fat right after. That’s like digging a hole and filling it back up with dirt. You’ll never get anywhere. Stick to a healthy diet full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots and lots of veggies if you want results. You can’t out train a crappy diet.
  • It Takes 1,000’s of Crunches To Get a 6 Pack
While crunches and other direct abdominal work will help you get an awesome 6 pack, it’s only about 30% of the equation. The other 70% is diet. You can have the sickest abs in the world but if you have 20% body fat covering them you’ll never see them. A lot of people also have the belief that lots of crunches burns ab fat or the “burn” they feel is their fat being burned. That is not true. So spend some of that time crunching on meal prep and cooking healthy and you’ll get that 6 pack.
  • When You Stop Working Out Your Muscle Turns to Fat
When You Stop Working Out Your Muscle Turns to Fat
A lot of people believe this but it’s actually biologically impossible for your muscle to turn to fat. A muscle cell and a fat cell are completely different and cannot change back and forth. What really happens when you stop lifting is you lose your muscle mass (because that’s what happens when you stop lifting) and you gain body fat because now you’re just hanging out and probably eating the same amount of calories if not more. People tend to eat healthier when they are exercising consistently. But to reiterate, a muscle cell cannot physically change into a fat cell.
  • Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
When I was in middle school they asked us “which weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?” A lot of kids instinctively yelled out “Bricks!”. And right off the bat it would make sense that the bricks were heavier, but it’s the same. A pound weighs a pound. It doesn’t matter if its feathers, fat, bricks, or burritos, 1lb will always weight 1lb (unless you go to the moon in which case its 0.2lb). So why do some people think that? Muscle is more dense than fat, just like bricks are more dense than feathers. A pound of muscle takes up a much smaller space than a pound of fat so some people think its heavier.
  • BMI – Body Mass Index is Flawed
BMI – Body Mass Index is Flawed
The BMI or Body Mass Index is a calculation of your weight divided by the square of your height then expressed as a number. This measure is not valid because it does not take body fat into consideration. So although I am a 6’1 215lb personal trainer and former physique pro sitting around 15% body fat I have a BMI of 28.7, which is on the higher end of the Overweight category and only 1.3 points from Obese. Really? So the 6’1 guy who never gets off the couch, eats like crap, looks and feels like crap, and has a beer gut gets the same score as me because we are both 215lbs and 6’1? Makes no sense.  A much better indicator of physical health is your body fat percentage, which is the ratio of your total bodyweight to your fat.
What did we learn today? Don’t believe everything you read and especially don’t believe anything you overhear in the gym locker room from someone who isn’t in any better shape than you. If you have questions seek the help of a credentialed professional and not the “guru’s” who hang out at the gym water fountain.
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