Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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especially for older men. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says some medications may cause bone loss and that is inevitable, particularly if you have to take these medications for another condition. Some better- known medications that can cause bone loss include heparin, lithium and aromatase inhibitors as well as anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors. When your doctor prescribes one of these medication, be sure to talk with him or her about how it can affect your bones. Try to take the lowest dose possible that will still be effective for you.

Some environmental factors have been shown to contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Air pollution is a variable that affects bone health; people who experience ambient air pollution from fine particles have lower bone mass levels. The scientific belief is this is due to the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by pollution. While it is old news bad air can create problems for the heart, lungs, eyes, uterus and mental health, it is now known that it can affect bone health as well.

The one thing that has not changed over time is the importance of early diagnosis



Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

for a positive outcome. A dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan, also known as the DEXA scan, is easy and painless and will give a T-score that determines your risk for osteoporosis or bone fractures. The recommendation is all women over age 65 years and men over age 70 years get a DEXA scan. Other individuals who should be screened include postmenopausal women under age 65 years with significant risk factors and men between age 50 and 69 years with risk factors such as a family history of osteoporosis, diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, physi-cal inactivity, a low body mass index, previous fractures, height loss of more than 1 inch and use of tobacco and alcohol. Another simple way to assess where you stand is the FRAX, or Fracture Risk Assessment Tool, which you can find online. It is a 10-year risk assessment for osteoporosis fractures.

There are always new medications hitting the market to combat osteoporosis. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved Evenity, an injected therapy developed by Amgen. It is said to build new bone by blocking the effect of a protein called sclerostin, though its use is limited to women at high risk of fracture. Like any drug, this one does come with risks. You can find new clinical trials to enroll in. These give people options for relief. Thanks to the advances in medications, people can work alongside their doctors to lead longer, healthier and more productive lives even with osteoporosis.

One interesting report showed a chemical often seen in soaps and hand sanitizers may be increasing the risk of osteoporosis in post- menopausal women. Triclosan is used to reduce bacteria, but it was recently banned from being included in over-the-counter hand sanitizers, although some products do still contain it.

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (KCHFS), one in two women and one in four men over age 50 years will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Becoming aware of the latest developments in osteoporosis research can help you enjoy good musculoskeletal health for years to come.

Lifestyle choices can impact your general wellness. Bone density develops throughout the lifetime and peaks in the late 20s, so the earlier you form good habits, the better off you will be. The old belief that carrying extra weight can help build stronger bones no longer holds true. Studies have shown being obese or having type 2 diabetes can lead to an increased risk of low bone density and fractures. Exercise, particularly weight-bearing activities such as jogging or weightlifting, can strengthen bones and prevent the onset of diabetes. Eating a balanced diet, staying active and not smoking are factors you can control, but others may or may not be in your hands, such as age, being underweight, Caucasian and female, having a family history of fractures and low estrogen and testosterone levels and using steroids and excessive alcohol. Medical conditions such as endocrine diseases or thyroid issues can also decrease bone strength.

An elevated platelet/lymphocyte ratio can serve as an effective biomarker in predicting postmenopausal osteoporosis. Another consideration is mid-arm muscle circumference measurement,