Menopausal Women And Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, which means porous bone, is a condition characterized by fragile bones that can more easily break. Osteoporosis is caused by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. Usually these fractures occur in the hip, spine, and wrist.

Osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person's disease, although it can affect people of all ages. Certain people, however, are at greater risk of developing this condition. This includes women in general, who are four times as likely as men to develop osteoporosis, and especially women after menopause.

Why Menopausal Women Are More Susceptible to Osteoporosis

By virtue of their sex, women are more prone to suffer from osteoporosis since they are lighter and have smaller bones. However, when estrogen levels drop sharply as a result of menopause, women are at greater risk for bone loss and bone fractures. Other risk factors for women include having one's ovaries removed, losing too much weight, or exercising too much, all of which can cause estrogen loss.

With the advent of lower estrogen levels, it's important for women to consult with their medical practitioner for advice on how to improve the health of their bones.

It is also important to know that after menopause, women produce estrogen in their fat tissues; thus women who are thin naturally produce lower levels of estrogen than heavier women. Research studies indicate that women who weigh less than 127 pounds are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, and thus women with eating disorders, who are low in weight and who often cease having menstrual periods, are at significant risk for suffering from this disease. To promote healthy bones, the optimal weight for women is that which falls within the recommended range for one's height.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Hormone replacement during menopause is known to be effective in protecting bone mass and thus lowering the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. While increased bone loss during menopause is not directly related to calcium intake, it is highly recommended that all women get an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D. The recommended daily amounts are 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D daily. After the age 60, however, calcium intake becomes critical as it has been shown to actually increase bone density.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following five steps towards bone health and towards the prevention of osteoporosis:

Good Eating: Make sure to get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Regular Exercise: Be sure to include weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.

Healthy Lifestyle: Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Consult with a Healthcare Professional: Find out how to maintain good bone health

Get Tested: Get a bone density test and take medication when advised.

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