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Go To Health! Because Life's Too Short. . .

the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara is the Featured Author for October 1997
at Authorlink!

She is also the Featured Author for November at Writing Now .

Osteoporosis--It's More Likely Than You Think

Part 2 of 4


RECENTLY (Aug. 22 - Sept. 2, 1997), the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) surveyed by telephone 543 American women age 45 and older. The organization found that we have a lot of misconceptions about osteoporosis.

  • Although 97 percent of survey respondents are aware of osteoporosis and half believe they are likely to develop this disease, most of the women were unsure what actions could slow or prevent the disease.
  • Most women in the study believed that practicing one prevention measure can prevent the onset of disease. Actually several strategies are necessary.
  • The women perceived their risk of developing osteoporosis declines as they age. The opposite is true.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) widely disseminates information, and encourages the government to take part in educating the public. For details online see

Knowing the risk factors is the first step toward preventing osteoporosis.

Risk Factors

Risk factors fall into three categories--health, nutrition/lifestyle, and heredity. Of course, some you can control and some you can't. The more risk factors you have, the greater your need to control those you can.


As you age, be aware that your likelihood of osteoporosis increases, as you replenish bone at a slower rate. Furthermore, if you have experienced any of the disorders on the list below, you may be more prone to osteoporosis.

  • Postmenopausal women or those who have had hysterectomies
  • Low testosterone (men)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Intestinal/bowel disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Rheumatic arthritis
  • Medication Use
    • Long-term use of some medications can set you up for osteoporosis;
    • Steroids (inhibit calcium absorption.)
    • Dilantin (can limit vitamin D and decrease calcium absorption)
    • Diuretics
    • Thyroid medication
    • Antacids (containing aluminum)
    • Heparin
    • Chemotherapy
    • Lithium
    • GnRH agonist


  • White and Asian women, who generally have smaller frames (about 10%) than black women, are at higher risk.
  • Those with a family history of osteoporosis are also at greater risk


  • Low calcium intake
  • Alcohol consumption
  • High phosphate consumption
  • Caffeine consumption (Its diuretic effect increases calcium loss through urine.)
  • High sodium consumption
  • Smoking ( It decreases estrogen levels in the blood. Typically,women who smoke are thinner and go through menopause earlier.)
  • Sedentary lifestyle (For healthy bones, we need weight-bearing exercise!)

Awareness of these factors can let you know if you are at risk of developing osteoporosis. However, a bone density test decisively assesses whether you have the disease.

Next week:

Insight into a painless test that can let you know where you stand in the fight against osteoprosis!

Do you have comments or insights on osteoporosis? What works for you? I'd love to hear from you on this topic, the next one (Sleep Disorders), or a topic you want to suggest! E-mail me at

Back to the top / The New Sideroad/ Go to the latest column

Issue # 2
Tuesday, Nov. 11, 1997

Last Week

Part 1 of 4 - - details the likelihood of developing this disease, and its dangers and consequences.

About Osteoporosis and
this Column

Stats indicate that for those over the age of 50, one of every two women and one in eight men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Our sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for this disease. Yet osteoporosis is not inevitable. Throughout November, I will relate information on this disease and how we can prevent it.

Next Week

A discussion of the actions you can take to prevent or treat osteoporosis (it can actually be reversed!)

Part of the original Sideroad. Text 1997, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted Nov. 10, 1997. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at

Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff -

Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's -