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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Osteoporosis prevention is every woman’s concern

No bones about it

Woman in kitchen drinking milk
The realm of women’s health extends far beyond the female anatomy. In fact, as a woman, the “parts” that tend to be the most disease prone are ones all humans share—from head to toe. Greater than your risk for most reproductive diseases is your risk for osteoporosis, making an osteoporosis prevention plan an important part of your overall health.

Women’s bones are typically smaller and thinner than men’s to begin with. Then, as you age, you quickly and steadily lose estrogen, a hormone that helps protect bones. These factors make women much more susceptible than men to bone loss and, eventually, osteoporosis—bone deterioration due to severely decreased bone mass.

The primary danger of osteoporosis is that thin, weak bones can fracture easily. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Stopping osteoporosis before it starts
The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to help protect and strengthen your bones, reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. The key is to adopt lifestyle habits that are important for optimal health in general, including:
  • eating a well-balanced diet
  • getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D (ask your provider whether supplements may help—for example, if you are pregnant or nursing)
  • exercising regularly
  • not smoking
  • limiting alcohol 
At Women’s Health Associates, we routinely recommend bone density testing for women who are in menopause. Depending on these results and your general health, we might prescribe estrogen therapy (ET), estrogen with progesterone hormone therapy (HT), or medications specifically targeted to help reduce bone loss.

Healthy bones for life
Because osteoporosis is most common after menopause, you might think this condition shouldn’t concern you until later in life—but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that hormonal changes can accelerate bone loss is the very reason to be proactive about bone health. It’s critical to build strong, healthy bones while you are young, before those changes occur. Even if menopause is years or decades away, the time to start taking charge of your bone health is now.   

Concerned about your bone health or osteoporosis risks? Contact us for an appointment today.