The fact is women are more at risk for osteoporosis than men and more than 53 million people in America have osteoporosis or may be on their way to developing the disease due to low bone mass. Studies show that half of all women over age 50 may experience an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime while men have a one in four risk. From an early age on, women start losing bone mass faster than men do and once the protection of estrogen drops off after menopause, the loss occurs even more rapidly.
Several factors make certain women more susceptible to osteoporosis. Caucasian and Asian women and those with small, thin body types are more at risk but it is not limited to just those groups. Also since osteoporosis runs in families, it is important to know your family history as you have a greater chance of bone loss if a relative had osteoporosis or a broken hip. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption creates more of a risk as well as long-term use of certain drugs such as prednisone, heparin, and some anti-seizure drugs.
A simple, painless Dual Emission X-Ray Absorptiometry scan is used to determine bone mineral density (BMD). If your scan shows bone loss, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. For all women, there are some simple preventative measures you can follow. A healthy, balanced diet that includes calcium and vitamin D rich foods and plenty of physical exercise protects against osteoporosis. Adding a calcium and vitamin D supplement is also a good idea. Weight-bearing exercises done regularly can help to prevent further bone loss.
For informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider if you have any questions regarding your health.
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Sources: nof.org/, niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/