What Every Woman Should Know About Osteoporosis

What Every Woman Should Know About Osteoporosis

No one wants to break a bone, of course, but you’re more prone to do so if you develop osteoporosis, a bone disease. The condition leaves your bones porous; they lose their normal tissue structure and density. Then your bones become brittle and weak, breaking easily. 

Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is proud to have Jennifer Childers, PA-C, and National Osteoporosis Foundation ambassador, on our staff. She provides expert bone care and helps you keep your bones healthy. If you do have osteoporosis, she develops a treatment plan customized for you. Following are important facts you should know about osteoporosis.

Women are at risk of osteoporosis 

Eighty percent of those with osteoporosis in the United States are women. Almost 20% of women in the US have osteoporosis in the lumbar spine or hip, compared with 4% of men. 

Why are women so much more at risk? The hormone estrogen is key to bone health in women. Both men and women start losing bone mass slowly each year around age 40. 

However, for women, menopause can lead to a sharp loss in bone mass over a relatively short period of time if preventive measures aren’t taken. Estrogen is important for healthy bones in women, and at menopause the level drops rapidly. 

Women are at risk of bone fracture from osteoporosis 

Did you know that 1 in 2 women will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis? The hip, spine, or wrist are the most common places where fractures occur. Sixty percent of individuals with hip fractures still need a medical device to help them walk one year later, and 20% of those with hip fractures who are over the age of 50 die of complications. 

A back fracture, known as a vertebral compression fracture, is the most common bone fracture associated with osteoporosis. The spinal bones deteriorate and come closer to each other, reducing your height. 

Bone density screenings identify osteoporosis 

If you’re a woman with no other risk factors, you should get a bone density scan at age 65 to have a baseline reading. It’s a quick, painless X-ray of the hip and spine. If you have the following risk factors, you should have a bone density screening test earlier than age 65: 

You can help prevent osteoporosis

Barring a disease or illness like rheumatoid arthritis, your lifestyle and habits have a great deal to do with whether you get osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercises help keep your bones healthy and strong. Resistance exercises using weights or a band and walking in your neighborhood or on a treadmill or elliptical machine on a regular basis are all great ways to keep your bones strong. 

Take precautions to avoid falls. Make sure you have non-skid material under rugs. Wear appropriate footwear for activities. Make bathrooms safe with rubber mats in tubs or showers. Use handrails every time you use the stairs. 

Getting the proper nutrition is critical as you age. Your body doesn’t absorb vitamins and minerals after age 50 as well as it did when you were younger. 

Calcium and vitamin D help build strong bones. Women 50 and under need at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium and vitamin D every day. Women over age 50 need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily. Eating a healthy diet with dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins helps protect against osteoporosis. 

Your doctor advises you on your need for supplements. If you need them, the vitamin D helps you absorb the calcium. Take the calcium two or three times per day in smaller doses since your body can’t absorb more than 500 milligrams at a time. 

For expert osteoporosis treatment, call or book an appointment online with Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, or Collierville, Tennessee, today. 

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