Osteoporosis is a medical condition that leads to the weakening of the skeletal structure. It makes the bones fragile and more likely to break. Bones have a honeycomb-like structure strengthening them. Osteoporosis creates larger gaps in the structure. This means much less trauma than usual is required to break the bone, so it is important to try to prevent osteoporosis.
Women going through menopause have been linked with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. The condition can progress without any symptoms or pain until a break occurs without warning. Often these breaks are in the hips and back, which are harder to deal with than a broken limb. What is the link between this condition and menopause and what can women do to prevent osteoporosis?
Menopause and Osteoporosis
What causes osteoporosis isn’t always clear, but researchers know that there is a direct link between menopause and osteoporosis. The main cause is the loss of estrogen during the menopause period.
Estrogen is a hormone that supports a woman’s reproductive and sexual health. It works alongside progesterone to sustain menstrual cycles and pregnancy. Estrogen is also known to support bone and cardiovascular health, as well as other essential functions. During menopause, estrogen levels lower, no longer sustaining bone strength as much as before
Other risk factors include:
- Starting menopause before age 45
- Irregular periods
- Going a long time without a menstrual cycle
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Thin women with less bone mass
- Lack of calcium and Vitamin D
- Smoking or drinking in excess
Combining estrogen decrease and lowering of bone mass with age with these factors puts women more at risk for osteoporosis.
It is important to find ways to prevent osteoporosis as you age, especially when entering menopause. Strengthening muscles and bones will safeguard against the loss of bone mass and risk of fracture. Prevention includes:
- Exercise- Weight-bearing exercises help to strengthen muscles and bones. Thirty minutes every day can be helpful. You can do it all in one thirty-minute session or break it up through the day, the benefits are the same. Find something you enjoy like walking, dancing, or gardening.
- Bone supporting diet- Foods high in calcium and Vitamin D are essential for maintaining bone health. Calcium helps the body properly absorb Vitamin D. Milk and other dairy foods are great sources of calcium, as are dark leafy vegetables and canned fish with bones. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, fatty fish, and cereals.
- Removing bad habits- Heavy smoking and drinking are detrimental to bone health and being underweight causes low bone density.
- Understand your risk probability- Be aware of risk factors that apply to you. If you have any autoimmune diseases, be sure to speak to your doctor about the chance of increased risk.
- Check bone health- As you approach menopause, ask your doctor about testing your bone health. They may recommend treatment to strengthen your bones and reduce fracture risk.
- Estrogen replacement- For women who have persistent menopause symptoms, estrogen replacement might be considered. It slows the degradation of bones and improves the body’s use of calcium. This treatment does come with an increased risk of breast cancer, so it should be carefully considered before use.
The best way to learn how to prevent osteoporosis is learning to take care of your body. Pay attention to what you eat, choosing foods that support your body’s systems. Exercise regularly and have regular checkups with your doctor. This is the only body you will get in life, so there is no downside to taking care of it.
How to Prevent Osteoporosis with Proper Care
At BASS Medical Group, your care is our top priority. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment, call (925) 350-4044 today. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Bass Medical is here to take care of you and your family.