Women & Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a hidden condition that many people forget about. It softens your bones, bends your spine, and most importantly, can hamper your quality of life.
Osteoporosis means “porous bones.” The disease occurs when the body makes too little or loses too much bone. Some bone cells deposit osteoid (called bone formation), and other bone cells begin to dissolve bone (called bone resorption). This process of making and losing bone cells is called bone remodeling and is a normal process designed to remove and replace bone damaged with day-to-day activities.
The chronic condition is more common in women than in men. The early symptoms of osteoporosis are often mild and indistinct, and in many cases, there are no symptoms at all. That can make treating osteoporosis difficult, and the best defense against lasting damage is a prompt diagnosis.
Tell me the facts:
Being female alone puts you at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Take a peek at these jarring facts:
-Of the estimated ten million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80% are women.
-Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
-A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
-In women over 45, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in the hospital than diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer.
Why are women more likely to get Osteoporosis than men?
Women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men. In addition, estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. This is why the chance of developing osteoporosis increases as women reach menopause.
Because most women are shorter and smaller than men, their bones are already lighter and more prone to breakage. If you weigh 127 pounds or less, your bones are especially at risk for developing osteoporosis. Doing weight-bearing exercises, such as lifting weights and running or walking, plus eating a calcium-rich diet can help your bones grow stronger when you are young
What increases my risk of developing osteoporosis?
Menopause: When a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen levels drop and can lead to bone loss. For some women, this bone loss is rapid and severe. If you’re in perimenopause or menopause, your body has slowed production of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen protects your bones from losing calcium. Without enough estrogen, you could lose as much as a quarter of your bone mass in the first 10 years of menopause, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
Two major factors that affect your chance of getting osteoporosis are:
- The amount of bone you have when you reach menopause. The greater your bone density is to begin with, the lower your chance of developing osteoporosis. If you had low peak bone mass or other risk factors that caused you to lose bone, your chance of getting osteoporosis is greater.
- How fast you lose bone after you reach menopause. For some women, bone loss happens faster than for others. In fact, a woman can lose up to 20% of her bone density during the five – seven years following menopause. If you lose bone quickly, you have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy robs your bones of minerals. If you are pregnant or nursing, you need to supplement your diet with calcium and vitamin D, which your growing baby uses to form healthy bones. If you do not get enough of those vitamins and minerals from your diet, your body takes the calcium from your bones. It is important to note, though that most women regain bone mass after childbirth, and pregnancy may protect against osteoporosis in the long term.
How can I treat osteoporosis?
People used to think that osteoporosis was an inevitable part of aging. Today, we know a lot more about how to prevent, detect and treat the disease. Functional therapy (back aids) achieve straightening of the spine and train the muscles at the same time.
Here at medi®, the Spinomed® back brace supports the back just like a weight-training machine. The strap system and the back brace exert tension on the pelvic and shoulder areas. This causes users to contract their muscles for a more erect posture of the upper body. Strengthening the muscles coordinates the interplay between the muscles for more harmonious movements.
May is Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month
The month of May has been designated as National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, and that makes it the perfect time to get your bones evaluated and make sure your skeleton is still strong and resilient.
Women should have their bone density assessed and be on the lookout for the early symptoms of osteoporosis. While men can and do get the disease, the affliction is far more common in women. That means that women have a significant risk factor you cannot control – even more reason to schedule your bone density test now.
Learn more about Osteoporosis here and do all you can to prevent bone less today.