Dr. Victoria Moots
Next, I would like to address prevention of osteoporosis. What can be done to maintain good bone health? What are your risk factors, and what can be done to change some of them, both physically and spiritually?
Age and genetics are 2 risk factors over which we have no control, but if you have a family history you should be even more vigilant to correct the other risk factors which can be altered.
Smoking is a very strong risk factor, a habit which is harmful in many ways, but God is able to deliver you from this if you will let Him. There are also multiple medications available from your doctor that can assist you in stopping; however, you must first purpose in your heart that you want to quit, or you will not succeed. The bondage of smoking is like the bondage of sin. It has control of you, and until you recognize that you are enslaved, you will not seek to be set free.
Inadequate calcium intake is another risk factor. Your bones act as a storage bank for calcium, a mineral necessary for muscle relaxation as well as many other processes in the body. When your blood level gets too low, the body releases special hormones to draw calcium from your “bone bank” by activating the osteoclasts. If this continues you will become over drawn at the bank resulting in a deficit which we call osteoporosis. You must make a daily deposit of sufficient calcium (1,000 to 1,500 mg in 2 or 3 divided doses) to maintain your “bone bank” balance. Spiritually we need to “…desire the sincere milk of the word…” I Peter 2:2, and partake of it in sufficient quantities daily.
Some churches today no longer preach the “sincere milk of the word” and have concocted a religious beverage that peps you up, tastes sweet and makes you feel good rather than nourishing the soul. People are being fed a watered-down version of the true milk and never seem to develop a desire to drink of it between Sunday morning services. Likewise, in the American diet, milk is frequently being replaced by carbonated, sweetened, highly caffeinated beverages or excessively strong coffee. Soda pop is high in phosphorus and sodium. Excess phosphorus blocks the absorption of calcium, and high sodium and high caffeine intake cause loss of calcium in the urine. Such beverages should be avoided spiritually and physically to prevent “…rottenness of bones” as in Prov. 12:4.
I Timothy 4:7, admonishes us to exercise ourselves unto godliness. A sedentary lifestyle or inadequate exercise can lead to osteoporosis as well as several other health problems. Walking is one of the easiest and safest types for people of all ages and costs nothing. I John 1:7, tells us to “…walk in the light, as he is in the light…” This is important physically also as sunlight is a valuable source of Vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption. Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause a chemical reaction in the skin which produces Vitamin D. This process requires unprotected sunlight for 15 minutes and should be done on a daily basis for maximum benefit.
Seventy percent of women age 50-70 lack vitamin D and 90% of those over 70 are lacking. This is largely due to spending too much time inside under artificial lighting, therefore you should make sure your calcium supplement contains vitamin D. Recent studies have also shown that many children are at risk for vitamin D deficiency due to inadequate time playing outside. Because of technological advancements the trend is to spend leisure time inside playing video games, using the computer or other electronics resulting in lack of physical activity and sunshine exposure.
Weight bearing exercise is essential to prevent osteoporosis. Bones require stress, such as the pull of gravity from walking in order to remain strong. Prolonged bedrest, more than 2 or 3 days, can quickly lead to bone loss. When the astronauts first journeyed to the moon and back, spending an extended period of time in weightlessness, it was discovered that they had lost significant bone mass. They were so weak upon their return that they required assistance to stand up against the force of gravity. Now astronauts are required to do resistance type exercises while in space daily to prevent this.
Even though bones are strengthened by stress, and inactivity or lack of gravity will weaken them, we must be careful not to over stress the body which could lead to stress fractures. Spiritually we must all endure a certain amount of trials in our Christian lives in order to gain strength. But God has promised that He would not put on us more than we are able to bear. However, sometimes we take upon ourselves too heavy a burden by failing to cast our cares upon Him and letting Him help carry our load. If you try to lift more than you are capable of carrying, physically or spiritually, it may result in a compression fracture of the spine. It is far better to seek assistance from someone who is stronger than you or to share the burden with another. Jesus promised that if we are yoked together with Him the burden would be light, (Matt. 4:28-30).
Another factor that can put you at risk for osteoporosis relates to the prolonged use of certain medications including steroids, anti-seizure and thyroid drugs which may speed up bone loss. Even certain types of birth control hormones can result in osteoporosis: If you are taking any of these you should have a Dexa Scan (Bone Density Test) and may need to start medications to counteract the bone loss. Ask your doctor regarding this.
But what if you already have osteoporosis? Be assured that both physical and spiritual osteoporosis can be treated. Isaiah 58:11 promises, “And the Lord shall… make fat thy bones…” This refers to thin osteoporotic bones that are made thicker (or fatter) by the Lord. Isaiah 66:14 also promises, “… your bones shall flourish like an herb...”, which describes bones that are actively growing, building up instead of breaking down.
There are currently several types of medications to treat osteoporosis including oral, injectable, intravenous and intra nasal. You should discuss with your doctor which one is best for you. In addition, the preventive measures that were discussed previously should be followed to maintain healthy bone structure.
If you have the misfortune to suffer an acute compression fracture of the spine there is a surgical procedure called Kyphoplasty which can help relieve pain and restore height of the vertebra and keep you from becoming bowed over. It consists of the use of a balloon device which is guided into proper position inside a collapsed vertebra with the aid of a fluoroscope. The surgeon then inflates the balloon to expand it and infuses a special bone cement into the area. Of course, all surgical procedures carry some risk, but it can be very effective. Jesus, by His word, performed the first Kyphoplasty 2,000 years ago on the woman in Luke 13, discussed previously. God’s word is still able to heal today and give strength to our spiritual bones and enable us to walk upright.
Physical osteoporosis, if untreated, can lead to total disability due to weakness, deformity, pain and even ability to walk or stand. Spiritual osteoporosis can be just as devastating but is equally treatable, for God has provided everything we need to be able to stand against Satan and not fall under times of stress.
We must first desire and partake of the sincere milk of the word and apply it personally in order to grow spiritually. Then we must walk in that light. Through faith we understand and believe the important concept that we can stand on God’s grace alone. Our strength does not lie in self-works but in the power of the blood of Jesus which atoned for our sins. If we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, then we have the same power to stand against Satan that Jesus did when he was tempted in the wilderness. We know in whom we stand and have no fear of falling as stated by Jude in Jude 24, 25: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”