9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Osteoporosis

9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Osteoporosis

Anyone can develop osteoporosis however it is a condition that affects women more than men.  Men have larger skeletons. Their bone loss begins later in life and tends to progress more slowly. They also experience no period of rapid hormonal change, so they have less risk compared to women. Approximately half of women lose as much as 10% to 20% of their bone mass in the five to six years surrounding menopause.

Our bones constantly change as old bone is removed and new bone grows in its place. This is a completely natural process that we all go through. Humans typically reach peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 30. Once we approach age 40, we start to lose bone mass.

There is no way to stop the loss of bone mass. However, the process is slow in the average person and can be slowed further by living a healthy lifestyle. If you want to improve your wellness, you can begin by trying these 7 methods that women can use to form good health habits.

Osteoporosis prevention starts with information. The more you know about the medical condition, the better equipped you will be to lower your risk of developing it.

Osteoporosis Can Cause Bone Fractures

Bones that are affected by osteoporosis will become brittle and fragile. They are more prone to fractures. If you break a bone due to a minor fall that wouldn’t normally result in this type of injury, you may need to be evaluated.

Osteoporosis can also cause bone fractures due to normal stresses like coughing, lifting, or bending.

Early Menopause and Hysterectomy Can Increase Risk

Starting menopause or having a hysterectomy before age 45 can lead to a greater risk of osteoporosis. This is especially true in women who have their ovaries removed during the procedure.

Women who over-exercise or diet too much and do not have a period for 6 months or more also have an increased risk. Always talk to your doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Osteoporosis

The early symptoms of osteoporosis may be nonexistent or easy to miss. Most people don’t notice anything until they break a bone. Common symptoms that could indicate the condition is present include:

  • Weakened grip strength
  • Nails that are brittle or weak
  • Receding gum line

If you notice these changes or are otherwise concerned about your osteoporosis risk, consult a doctor. You can visit Complete Women’s Healthcare now to schedule an appointment.

You Can Have Low Bone Density without Osteoporosis

You can have low bone density and not have osteoporosis. If you have a bone scan that shows low density, that doesn’t guarantee that you have the disease.

Women who have lower than normal bone density, but not low enough to classify as osteoporosis, could have osteopenia. This diagnosis indicates an increased risk of eventually developing osteoporosis, but it could be managed with a conservative treatment plan. It may not require medication however ongoing monitoring is recommended.

Your Bones Need Calcium and Vitamin D

Your bones need calcium and vitamin D to remain strong and healthy. These minerals are found in dairy products like yogurt and milk. Other good options include dark leafy green vegetables like kale and broccoli as well as fish like salmon and sardines.

You can also look for calcium-fortified foods like cereals, fruit juices, soy products, and milk substitutes.

Our bodies can create vitamin D with sunlight. When using this method, make sure you protect your skin with sunscreen and avoid overexposure. Too much sun will increase your skin cancer risk.

Osteoporosis is Considered a “Silent Disease”

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease” because the symptoms aren’t always obvious. Most patients notice no symptoms during the early stages of the condition. It can continue to progress unnoticed until the patient experiences a fracture.

That’s why every woman should keep in touch with her doctor and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If left untreated, osteoporosis can lead to severe bone fractures, commonly found in the hips, spine, and wrists.

Lifestyle Choices That Increase Osteoporosis Risk

The choices we make daily directly impact our health. Several behaviors can increase your risk of osteoporosis. These include:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Drinking alcohol excessively
  • Living an inactive lifestyle

You should also monitor your intake of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and potassium. Deficiencies can raise your osteoporosis risk.

Women can lower their risk by eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly. Try these 10 things you can do now to live a more active lifestyle to get started.

Effective Treatments for Osteoporosis Exist

Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoporosis. Once it appears, we can’t get rid of it. However, we have access to effective treatment options that can safely slow bone loss and prevent fractures.

Medications called bisphosphonates or diphosphonates have been used for over two decades to slow bone resorption. Your doctor may also prescribe an increase in calcium intake and weight-bearing exercises.

The best treatment is prevention, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to learn your risk and find ways to lower it through a healthy diet, exercise, and avoiding bad habits like smoking.

Start Osteoporosis Prevention Early

Osteoporosis typically occurs in adults over age 65. However, prevention should start much, much earlier than that. Parents should ensure that their children eat a healthy diet with enough calcium.

Our bone-building years start during childhood and extend into young adulthood. That’s why our bodies must have what is needed to form strong bones and lower our osteoporosis risk later in life.

Now is the best time to take better care of your body. Learn more about your osteoporosis risk with a consultation and screening.