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Bone Density and Menopause - Risk, Diagnosis and Treatment

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Bone Density and MenopauseRemember when you were 21 and constantly worrying about bone density? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Menopause, however, may be making you wish you had worried about it a little more.

For your first 25–30 years, your bones were hard at work building themselves up. Hopefully, you helped them grow by getting eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise. Around the age of 30, your bone growth may have peaked and started to slow down. The drop in estrogen levels after menopause, however, can cause your bone density to decrease at a much faster rate. For some women, this bone loss will become osteopenia, and then possibly osteoporosis (a).

Risk Factors

Two major factors affect your chances of getting osteoporosis (b):
  1. How dense your bones are when you reach menopause. Many women never reach their peak bone mass by age 30 because of lack of exercise, too much exercise, smoking, poor diet, lack of vitamin D, or eating disorders.
  2. How fast you lose bone density after you reach menopause. Bone mass is maintained, in part, by the hormones naturally produced in your body: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. At perimenopause, the collagen matrix that forms the foundation of healthy bone could start to weaken, especially when bone density is already low.

The following factors also play a role in your bone density (c):
  • Race. Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Caucasian women are more likely to have hip fractures, but women of color are more likely to die after a hip fracture (d).
  • Bone structure and body weight. Small-framed women have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis because they have less bone to lose than those with larger frames.
  • Family history. This is one of the biggest risk factors. If your mother or grandmother have had any signs of osteoporosis, you may be at greater risk.
  • If you are have had a fracture, or you are under 65 and have had more than one risk factor, now would be a good time to talk to your doctor about testing, preventing, and/or treating if necessary.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Osteoporosis (and its predecessor osteopenia) are diagnosed with a bone density test. If you do receive a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia (early-stage osteoporosis), don’t get discouraged. There are many solutions available to help you maintain or build your bones. Here are some keys to building strong, healthy bones--even after menopause (e)(a):
  • Include weight-bearing activity into your daily routine.
  • Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sodas with phosphates.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Include protein, healthy fats, and phytoestrogens in your diet.
  • Get treated for depression if necessary.

Of course, your doctor may also prescribe medication if necessary. Along with all of this, be sure you make your environment safe by eliminating risks for tripping and falling.

It is never too late to take care of your bones. If you haven’t already, start creating bone-healthy habits today for stronger bones tomorrow. Here’s to a stronger you!

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

05-20-2017 - 07:14 PM


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