What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body has lost too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. This disease often progresses without any symptoms or pain. The result of this makes bones become weak and may break more easily during a fall or even in minor occurrences such as sneezing. Osteoporosis is a very big issue for women post-menopause.
What is the link between osteoporosis and menopause?
According to multiple studies, there is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause and the development of osteoporosis. Any prolonged period in which hormone levels are low and menstrual cycles are absent or irregular can cause loss of bone mass. Of all Osteoporotic fractures in women, 75% only occur because the woman is in menopause. So it’s something women really need to evaluate as it is one of the main reasons needed to see a doctor once menopause has occurred.
No matter what the bone loss is going to be in women, the greatest percentage of that bone loss will occur the first 5 years after menopause. It is very important to go over risk factors with your doctor. Just being 50 years of age and a female are two big risk factors, and you need to evaluate with bone density as a base line once menopause has occurred.
How can I test my bone density and treat osteoporosis?
A BMD test, or Bone Mineral Density Test, is given by having X-rays that use very small amounts of radiation to determine bone density. In addition to measuring your bone density, this test can also provide you with the severity of your disease if it is present. Women over the age of 50 are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis and according to research, Caucasian and Asian women are even more likely to develop the disease. You also need record of family history, as heredity is one of the most important risk factors. If your parents or grandparents have had any signs of osteoporosis, you may be at greater risk of developing the disease. A painless and accurate test can be conducted to provide information about your bone health before any serious problems begin.
Osteoporosis can be treated by taking Calcium and Vitamin D supplements, prescription medications, or weight-bearing exercises which make your muscles work against gravity. Hormone therapy is also believed to be useful in preventing or decreasing the rate of bone loss and is generally recommended for postmenopausal women have had an early menopause, a low bone mass, or those with a family history of the disease.
How can I protect myself against osteoporosis?
There are many ways to protect yourself against osteoporosis by exercising on a regular basis, eating foods with high calcium, taking no more than 2,000mg of calcium supplements a day, Vitamin D, Estrogen, and by limiting the intake of alcohol and tobacco to your body as smoking causes your body to make less estrogen, which protects bones.
If you are lactose-intolerant and have difficulty digesting milk for your calcium, you can try digesting some yogurt, hard cheeses, lactose-free dairy products, or by consuming more leafy green vegetables, salmon, or broccoli as they are very calcium rich.