By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 10, 2018
Contributed by Karen Giblin- Red Hot Mamas Expert
Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. It is a disease that makes a person’s bones weak and makes them more prone to fracture.
Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density placing them at risk.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease because you cannot feel your bones getting weaker. It is often first diagnosed when you break a bone after fall or even after minor exertion.
The consequences of osteoporosis in terms of human suffering are often extremely grave. It is estimated two million broken bones per year.
Osteoporosis is a woman’s concern! One in two women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. A woman’s risk of fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
As women, our loss of bone begins sooner than in men. And, women lose bone most rapidly in the first 5 to 6 years following menopause. The rate of loss at this time is approximately six times more rapid as a man’s loss of bone.
The monetary cost of osteoporosis is expensive. Osteoporosis related bone breaks cost patients, their families and the healthcare system $19 billion annually. And, the emotional cost when you become a victim to osteoporosis may cause extreme pain, physical deformity (stooped posture/dowager’s hump); disability and loss of independence. All of this may contribute to a profound effect your emotional well-being, as well as your quality of life.
Are you at risk for developing osteoporosis? Your risk factors of osteoporosis may increase if:
- You have an early menopause. The earlier your natural menopause, especially if it occurs before the age of 45, the greater your risk for osteoporosis. And, the removal of your ovaries prior to natural menopause may result in an abrupt loss of estrogens contributing to the development of osteoporosis.
- You have a family history of osteoporosis. Genetic factors – heredity plays an important role in determining whether you will develop osteoporosis or not. If your sister, mother, aunt or grandmother has osteoporosis, you may consider yourself at high risk. So it is important that you know your family medical history.
- You have lived a sedentary lifestyle.
- You have had a diet that’s low in calcium and vitamin D.
- You smoke.
- You are underweight. If you are on the slightly heavy side you will be comforted to know that heavier women rarely develop osteoporosis.
- You drink too much alcohol
Planning a healthy future:
Osteoporosis is manageable. As a woman, you should direct your efforts at prevention, since bone, once lost, cannot be restored. Lack of prevention can be very dangerous.
Here are some steps you can do to improve your bone health:
- Pay attention to good nutrition by eating a healthy diet. Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day.
- Get plenty of exercise which may help slow or stop the loss of bone mass and help prevent fractures. Do regular weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises.
- Don’t smoke and drink too much alcohol.
- Talk to your clinician about your risks of developing osteoporosis and ask when you should have a bone density test.
- Take an osteoporosis medication if your clinician recommends it to you. And, always discuss the risks and benefits of its use and discuss all treatment options.
The time to start preventing bone loss is now, before it begins.