Osteoporosis affects over 3 million Americans, with millions more at risk. Persons with osteoporosis have too little bone mass or make too little bone, causing decreased bone strength and density. As a result, bones are fragile and can break easily. The condition is particularly dangerous since most people are unaware of weakened bones. Osteoporosis is also dangerous for seniors as certain broken bones can significantly reduce life span. However, young women need to keep an eye on bone health and osteoporosis.
Women and osteoporosis
Women need to be particularly aware of osteoporosis. The condition is 4 times as likely to affect women than men. Women tend to have thinner bones and smaller body frames. A fracture is also more likely to occur due to longer life spans. With time, some risk factors tend to accelerate bone loss. Even young women should take note, as specific lifestyle changes can reduce the chances of osteoporosis.
Lower estrogen means higher chances of osteoporosis
Estrogen and progesterone are crucial hormones for reproductive function. However, these hormones are just as important for bone development. Women with abnormally low estrogen levels are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Estrogen levels gradually decline leading up to menopause. When menopause occurs, estrogen drops even further. At this point, the chances of osteoporosis are highest. Make sure to speak with a doctor about future treatments like hormone replacement therapy. HRT can help with the changes that come with menopause, including low bone density.
Take note of your missed periods
Missing periods for several months at a time? The issue could be amenorrhea or the absence of menstruation. While pregnancy and menopause are the primary causes, other health issues can restrict periods. Premature menopause, reproductive conditions, and thyroid malfunction can cause amenorrhea. Physical damage to reproductive organs or certain lifestyle behaviors also stop periods altogether. An absence of menstruation could mean reduced estrogen production. Make sure to speak with an OB/GYN to address issues affecting bone health in the long run.
Get your dose of vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health. The sunshine vitamin helps the body absorb calcium and other vital nutrients to build bones. Unfortunately, many Americans do not get the recommended daily dose of the vitamin. Vitamin D deficiencies are particularly harmful to women as the risk of osteoporosis significantly increases. Make sure to stock up on vitamin D with some daily sunlight and a possible supplement.
Smoking and alcohol are well-known risk factors
Smoking and alcohol consumption have long been linked to several diseases like osteoporosis. While doctors cannot pinpoint the exact relationship, smoking and alcohol are triggers for other lifestyle concerns. Persons who smoke are more likely to have dietary deficiencies, low muscle mass, and low body weight. Statistics show that cigarette smoke also increases the risk of early menopause.
The biggest risk factor of all
While there are several risk factors, not checking bone density with age is the biggest one of all. Most persons with osteoporosis do not know about the condition until a fracture occurs. A bone density test can help determine if there are signs of osteoporosis. Young women must understand the risks of osteoporosis that will come with age. Pay close attention to hormonal concerns and dietary deficiencies. Check with a doctor for a bone density test every 2 years. Then take steps to improve bone health day by day. For more information about osteoporosis prevention, speak with a healthcare provider.