For women during menopause and perimenopause, a hormonal imbalance occurs that slows down production of bone tissue even further. The main hormone responsible for keeping bones healthy and strong is oestrogen, which is present in both men and women. With menopause, oestrogen levels drop dramatically and the bones are no longer kept in check. In addition, women start off with a lower bone density than men do due to the body structure.
Because of this, women experience an increased slowing of bone production than men, therefore, they are a higher risk of acquiring osteoporosis than men.
Osteoporosis refers to a general disease of the bones, and can affect any bone in the body. Although osteoporosis can affect any bone in the human body, it’s usually common around the hip, spine, and wrist. This happens when you have weak bones that are susceptible to breakages easily, which can cause severe pain and even disability.
The condition is so common among people that there are 8.9 million fractures reported annually as a result of osteoporosis.
How osteoporosis develops
Bones are made of living tissue, which means that these tissues wear off and are replaced by new tissue throughout life. The outside of the bone is made up of cortical tissue, which is hard and brittle, to hold the weight of the body. The inside of the bone is made of trabecular tissue. The latter is spongy and provides nutrients to the outer layer of the bone.
With age, the production of new bone slows down, and the new cortical tissue becomes slower to form. Normally, this wouldn’t be a cause for alarm, but various issues can make the bone lose its density faster.
Some of this factors include:
- Excessive alcohol
- Diet low in vitamin D and Calcium
- Inadequate exercise
The combination of these factors and the slowed production of bone tissue leads to a formation of holes in the cortical tissue. Gradually, these ‘holes’ increase in number and begin to affect the trabecular tissue, eventually weakening the structure of the bone.
Keeping osteoporosis in check
Ensure you get enough calcium in your diet every day
Calcium is an important component in the makeup of the bones, and can be acquired through certain foods and even calcium pills. The former is the easiest but you can always use pills to boost your calcium levels.
Vitamin D is probably something you shouldn’t ignore, especially since it’s in abundance. Your skin produces vitamin D from the sun and that simply means you should get out of the house every once in a while.
Other nutrients, too, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc, as well as protein are important in bone formation and you should strive to include them in your diet.
There’s nothing you can do about the decrease in bone formation, but you should keep the bones you do have healthy through regular physical exercise.
- Osteoporosis refers to a general disease of the bones, and can affect any bone in the body.
- 8.9 million fractures are reported annually as a result of Osteoporosis.
- Women are affected five times more than men.