By Alessandra Bizzarri Todd
Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by decreased bone mass and microarchitecture deterioration of bone tissue which increase skeletal fragility and often lead to fragility fractures in elderly men and women. It’s a chronic metabolic bone disease meaning the strength of the bones have been
compromised usually due to a depletion of vital minerals and irregularities in the body’s homeostasis, over time. Many people go undiagnosed until they break a bone as bone mineral density (BMD) is not something that is routinely monitored. Osteoporosis is widespread meaning it is seen in all genders, ages and races, however, statistics show that it is most common in Caucasian women of older age groups. Currently, it has been estimated by the International Osteoporosis Foundation that more than two hundred million people globally are suffering from osteoporosis. With an aging population and longer lifespan, osteoporosis is increasingly becoming a global epidemic.1,2 In America eighty percent of the estimated ten million people diagnosed with osteoporosis are women,3 making it one of the most important diseases women face.
In Ayurveda we are taught to live in harmony with the seasons, considering climate and time of life, we honor these cycles by intimately knowing our bodys’ prakruti (constitution) and any given vikruti (imbalance) so that we may approach diet and lifestyle properly. It’s a way of life in which we become devoted to simply paying attention to our internal and external landscapes. A practical practice of loving preventative care. The original Functional Medicine in which the unique individual is acknowledged and healing of the root cause of disease is facilitated. It is my intention for this paper to shed light on the prevalence of osteoporosis specifically in postmenopausal women, which happens to be our vata time of life, and how, with the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, a woman can reduce her chance of having this disease manifest in her body by understanding its samprapti (pathogenisis).
Traditional pathophysiological concepts of osteoporosis focus on endocrine mechanisms such as estrogen or vitamin D deficiency as well as secondary hyperparathyroidism. There is exciting research emerging that expands on our fundamental knowledge of osteoporosis, highlighting interactions between bone health and the immune system, the gut microbiome and cellular senescence.4