Osteoporosis during Menopause
The bones are living tissues that comprises the skeletal system of your body. They protect the soft tissues and organs. They are also the reason why you are able to stand and perform your daily activities. During your youth, your bones constantly renew itself. New bone replaces the old bones that are broken down. In your younger years, about until you’re mid 20s, the rate of making new bones is faster than the break down of the old ones. But as you age, it is does the opposite. Therefore, your bone health is basically dependent on the bone mass you were able to build up during your youth.
One common problem when it comes to the health of your bones is Osteoporosis. It does affect both men and women. However, it is more common in women in their menopausal years. According to statistics by the National Osteoporosis Foundation 50% of women, who are at least 50 years old, actually break a bone due to osteoporosis. But, what is osteoporosis and why does it affect more women than men?
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a medical condition that affects the structures and the integrity of the bones. The bones in the body are constantly growing. At some point the bones may crack or break, but it has its own capacity to heal. This often happens, but we don’t notice it because of the regeneration of the bones by itself. However, as a person gets old, the bones become fragile and easy to break. They also lose the capacity to regenerate or heal on its own.
To give you a clearer picture of what happens in osteoporosis, imagine losing a part of your bone or having a bone that is too small. You may ask, is it possible to lose a bone when I had them ever since I was born? Losing a bone does not necessarily mean that your bones have disappeared. Losing a bone tells you that a part of it has somehow degenerated.
If you look at it, the bone is normally compact, but not totally solid. Imagine the structure of a honeycomb. It looks very much solid, but when you look into a cross-cut section, you will see that there are small pores in it. A normal bone has a similar structure, but they are a lot stronger than honeycomb. Now, what happens with osteoporosis is that the holes are bigger this time. Your once dense bones are now porous and have a lesser density than the normal bone. It only means that your bone structure is now weaker than it used to be.
When you have lesser bone density or a weaker bone structure, you are more prone to having bone breakage. One question may be in your mind right now. What causes osteoporosis? There are several factors that may cause osteoporosis. The age does count because as a person gets old, the bones lose their natural density. Race and heredity are two common factors as well. According to studies Caucasians and Asians have the highest risk for osteoporosis. If many elders in your family experienced osteoporosis, there is a bigger chance that you will also have it in your older years.
Lifestyle is a huge factor for having osteoporosis as well. If you are a smoker, it would be best if you discontinue the habit to avoid osteoporosis. If your diet contains low calcium levels, then you may be prone to developing osteoporosis when you get old.
Why does Osteoporosis affect women in Menopause?
The hormone estrogen in women is responsible for inhibiting bone resorption. Bone resorption is the term referring to the process of bone breakage, which is minimized by estrogen in women. This means that the estrogen helps in keeping the bones healthy and making sure that it is strong enough for the body. In the men’s case, it is the testosterone that does this job for their bones.
The decrease of the estrogen levels during menopause greatly affects the integrity of the bones. This is the reason why there is a bigger chance for women to develop osteoporosis once they reach the menopausal age. The existence of osteoporosis during menopause depends on two major factors. It includes the bone density at the start of menopause and the speed of bone resorption or loss of the bones.
During the first few days of your first stage in menopause, you can expect to have a good bone density since you are still younger by then. However, there are times when even younger women have abnormally low bone densities. This increases their chances of getting osteoporosis and the probability of getting the disease could even go further as you get older and reach menopause and post-menopause stages.
The speed of bone loss could vary from one person to another. Some women may lose their bones at a faster rate. At this point, the bones could get slow in trying to fix the broken bones, especially that estrogen levels are low and the body is aging naturally as well. Because bone loss is happening faster than the bone repair, a woman may have a greater chance of experiencing osteoporosis.
How do I know if I have Osteoporosis?
Many experts call osteoporosis as a silent disease because you don’t actually feel your bones getting weak. You may ask, how do I know if I’m having osteoporosis or not? There are signs that can possibly tell you that you that osteoporosis has hit you. According to the specialists, a person with osteoporosis can have an evident loss in height. He or she may also have an obvious curving of the spine, especially in the upper part of the back.
If you have experienced or have observed such signs, it would be best to consult your physician about it. Although the signs could be visible, still they will not be used as the final basis for diagnosis. The doctor may order for diagnostic test to detect your bone density. If the test detects that your bone density is normal, then you may not have osteoporosis. However, if it is lower than the usual bone density, then you could be having osteoporosis. The normal bone density has a T-score of 1.0 and below. If your bone density reading is between 1.0 and 2.5, then you have a big probability of having osteoporosis.
How do I prevent myself from Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis happens to a lot of women in menopause and they have suffered from the disease. However, this does not mean that you have to suffer as much as well. This is because there are ways for you to prevent yourself from getting osteoporosis.
You can use methods that are healthier and safer for you to take. The National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA have suggested three secrets to preventing osteoporosis effectively. The secrets include following regular exercise, stopping habits of smoking or drinking, and eating a balanced diet with enough vitamin D and calcium.
For good exercise regimens that you can follow, you can read more at the exercise section of this website. You may also get healthy sun exposure during early mornings for natural and optimal vitamin D synthesis in your body. As for your diet, you can eat food items that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Kale and broccoli are two common food items that are known to help fight osteoporosis. Another god sources of the vitamins and minerals are organic supplements.
Once you lose your bones, it is very difficult to get them back, especially that you are not getting any younger. The best way for you to do is to prevent osteoporosis from happening. While you are young, do something to make sure that your bones are protected.
Where do I get treatment if I have Osteoporosis?
If osteoporosis is inevitable in your case, you can always opt for treatment. One of the common techniques in the market is Hormonal Replacement Therapies or HRTs. However, many experts believe that HRTs can cause side effects and are not the most recommended type of treatment option.
There are also specific medications that could possibly fix your osteoporosis issues. Since it is not advisable to self-medicate, it would be best to get a good advice from your physician this time.
Do not forget to follow an effective exercise regimen for you. Also, observe a balanced diet with special mentions on the intake of food or supplements that are high in Vitamin D and the mineral calcium.
Always remember that if you are experiencing osteoporosis, you should know that you are not alone. A lot of men and women experience it too. What you need to know now is that there are things you can do to prevent or lessen the effects and the possible suffering that osteoporosis may bring into your menopausal journey.
Bear in mind that your bone is essential in giving you a good quality of life today and the coming fruitful years of your life. It is something that you should not take for granted. Your bones do not just support your posture, but the entire health of your body. Keep away from pain and agony later in life by taking care of your bones today!
National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF)
NOF is the world’s leading organization devoted to fight against osteoporosis and bone degradation. They continually promote strong bones by providing educational programs for the public’s increased awareness. Their group of experts also strongly supports and aids with the digging of new researches for healthier bones. The site and home of NOF keeps the readers around the globe updated from the latest news about osteoporosis: latest therapies, gatherings, symposiums, events, etc. They also give everyone, whether patients or their loved ones, a chance to connect with the osteoporosis community and build a stronger army against bone breakdown. Check their site to know more information.
Do you think you are having the symptoms of osteoporosis too? What did you do to address it? Share your methods with us!
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