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Osteoporosis: A Deadly Disease
That Can Be Reversed

“Although osteoporosis is a serious, chronic disease,” says Alex Kumbar, franchise owner of OsteoStrong in Raleigh and Durham, “it’s known as ‘the silent killer’ because, too often, sufferers don’t even know they have it. It’s painless and the first warning may be a broken bone resulting in permanent disability that can lead to premature death.”

Alex Kumbar: “Osteoporosis is a serious, disabling disease, but it’s completely reversible. You can rebuild strong bones at any age.”

“Osteoporosis,” he explains, “means ‘porous bone,’ leading to low bone mass. Osteoporotic bones are extremely weak, making them much more susceptible to breaking.”

This is not a minor problem, he points out. “In the United States, the NIH estimates that some 200 million people are at high risk due to low bone mass— that includes one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50.

“And osteoporosis can rightly be called a deadly disease. In fact, it is a leading cause of premature death among the elderly, because bones get progressively more brittle as people age—and a broken bone in an elderly person can spell disaster. According to the NIH, 50 percent of elderly people who break a hip die within six months of the fracture. One in six women taken to the hospital with a hip fracture will not come out alive and men fare even worse.”

Serious but Treatable

The statistics on osteoporosis in the elderly are grim, Mr. Kumbar acknowledges. “But, although osteoporosis is described as a chronic condition, it doesn’t mean it’s inevitable or permanent. In fact, it can be prevented and treated—even in advanced stages.

Osteoporosis: You Have Choices

“While osteoporosis is both preventable and treatable,” says Mr. Kumbar, “we need to remember that prevention and treatment are both influenced by choices we make. Loss of bone is a natural, normal part of aging. We all begin losing bone density around age 30, but that doesn’t make osteoporosis inevitable. The disease is caused by multiple factors— some under our control, some not. Being aware of factors associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis is important and so is understanding the power you have to address those risks.”

Among the high-risk factors you can’t change are gender and genetics. “Women are at greater risk than men,” notes Mr. Kumbar. “And that risk increases for petite women and White and Asian women. Age is also a factor: the older you are, the greater the likelihood of developing osteo-porosis. Heredity also plays a role; if your family has a history of it, you are more likely to have it.

“There are also a number of factors that increase the risk for developing osteoporosis over which you do have control, including: an inactive lifestyle, smoking, alcohol consumption, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, long-term use of certain medications, and fluctuation of sex hormones.”

Prevention and Treatment

“Osteogenic loading has proven to be a powerful and extremely efficient way to both prevent and treat osteoporosis,” says Mr. Kumbar. “But while the OsteoStrong program may be the most efficient way to do this, many other choices contribute to strong healthy bone.” These include:

  • A diet rich in calcium; post-menopausal women and older men need more daily calcium.
  • Taking vitamin D daily
  • Weight-bearing and resistance exercise, such as climbing, tennis, dancing, and weight-lifting
  • Stopping smoking and regular consumption of alcohol
  • Discussing your medications and their risks with your doctor
  • Getting a bone density scan to determine if you are at risk. It is recommended that anyone over the age of 50 get a scan. This is often when insurance will start covering a yearly scan. A DXA scan provides a clear measure of bone density. OsteoStrong offers its members a simpler version of the DXA scan—an ultrasonic bone scan of the wrist, measuring the dense outer protective surface of bone, which provides a useful preliminary guide to those engaging in a bone-building program

“Dr. John Jaquish, who devel-oped the osteogenic loading system, described osteoporosis ‘a disease of deconditioning,’ which acknowledges the steady decline of bone strength as we age, in combination with many other factors such as diet and exer-cise. The OsteoStrong program of osteogenic loading could be consid-ered a method of ‘re-conditioning’ your bone.”

A variety of methods are com-monly used to treat osteoporosis, notes Mr. Kumbar. “These include dietary changes, weight-bearing and cardiovascular exercise, and medi-cation; and these approaches can have a positive impact—especially in combination. However, a 2015 meta-analysis of 152 peer-reviewed studies, comparing these approaches and OsteoStrong, showed that osteogenic loading alone was more than twice as effective in improving bone density than any other treat-ment.* Furthermore, not only does osteogenic loading increase skeletal strength and bone density, but it also increases physical strength, decreases joint and back pain, and improves fracture prevention, balance, and posture.  

“In short, osteogenic loading has proven extremely successful in reversing osteoporosis, osteopenia, and bone loss—efficiently and without drugs.”

Osteogenic Loading

“Osteogenic loading,” says Mr. Kumbar, “is based on a century of research—known as Wolff’s Law—that tells us that, when bones experience compression, the body will respond by building bone. We describe the osteogenic loading process as the ‘ultimate bio-hack’—provoking the body to use its own natural ability to heal. The OsteoStrong equipment allows people to safely apply sufficient stress on bones and muscles to build strength and bone density.”

There are four pieces of equip-ment, each focused on a different part of the body, he explains. “By pushing, pulling, or lifting against each machine, you apply the necessary levels of pressure to improve bone density and strength. The whole process—working on all four pieces of equipment—takes about 15 minutes, once a week.”

The Additional
Challenges of Chronic Illness and Pain

“In any treatment plan for osteoporosis, it’s important to note the connection between it and other chronic health conditions,” says Mr. Kumbar. “Many diseases can increase bone loss and/or fall risk. Among them are rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney and liver disease, diabetes, and COPD, and any conditions producing chronic pain. Not only do they—or the medications needed to treat them—contribute to bone deterioration, but they often interfere osteoporosis treatment.

“The complications of addressing bone health and other health problems also increase with age,” he points out. “And conditions that produce chronic pain are particularly challenging, because persistent pain makes it difficult—even impossible—to do the physical activities that help build bone density.

“When you’re young, it’s very easy to trigger that bone building. When you’re older—especially if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis—the challenge is to stimulate bone growth safely, without worrying about breaking bones or aggravating chronic pain. And that is the great strength of the OsteoStrong program. It works despite the limitations of age or other illnesses. Osteogenic loading will not aggravate chronic pain and is something that you can do safely at any age—even in your 80s and 90s.”