Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak. It is often called the ‘silent disease’ because it can develop without symptoms until a bone is broken. Women are at the higher risk for developing osteoporosis due to various factors such as menopause, age, and a lack of calcium and vitamin D in their diet. This article will discuss the risks and prevention strategies for osteoporosis in women.
Osteoporosis is when bones become brittle and fragile, increasing the risk of fractures. Bones comprise a network of collagen fibers and minerals such as calcium and phosphate. As we age, bones naturally lose density and become weaker, but in some cases, the loss of bone density is more severe, leading to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can affect any bone in body, but fractures in the hip, spine, and wrist are the most common. Hip fractures can be especially dangerous for older women, leading to reduced mobility, increased dependency, and even death. Life Line screenings can help women detect osteoporosis early and take preventive measures.
Risk Factors For Osteoporosis In Women
Several factors increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, including:
- Age: Bone density naturally declines with age, and older women are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis.
- Menopause: Estrogen plays vital role in maintaining bone density, and women lose estrogen rapidly during menopause. This loss of estrogen can cause bones to become weaker, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Family History: If a woman has family history of osteoporosis, she may be at a higher risk of developing the condition herself.
- Low Body Weight: Women with low body weight, especially those with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 19, may be at an increased risk for osteoporosis.
- Lack Of The Calcium And Vitamin D: Calcium and vitamin D are essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Women who do not consume enough of these nutrients may be at an increased risk for osteoporosis.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Regular exercise can help maintain bone density, and sedentary women may be at an increased risk for osteoporosis.
Prevention Strategies For Osteoporosis In Women
Fortunately, there are several strategies that women can use to prevent osteoporosis, including:
- Get Enough Calcium And Vitamin D: Women should consume at least 1,200 milligrams daily and 600 to 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. Good sources of calcium include the dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods. Vitamin D can be found in the fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods.
- Exercise Regularly: Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, and weightlifting can help maintain bone density. Women should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can increases the risk of osteoporosis, as it can reduce bone density and decrease estrogen levels in women.
- Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of osteoporosis, so women should limit their intake to no more than one drink per day.
- Take Medications As Prescribed: If a woman has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, her doctor may prescribe medications to help prevent further bone loss. It is essential to take these medications as prescribed to maintain bone density.
- Get Screened For Osteoporosis: Women over 65 should get screened for osteoporosis, and younger women with risk factors should also consider getting screened.