Did you know that women reach peak bone density around the age of 20? After that, there is a slow process of bone loss until menopause, and then the bone loss accelerates for several years after. Without enough bone density, you are more prone to fractures, poor posture, loss of height, limited mobility and other problems. The rapid loss of estrogen that occurs in menopause combined with the commonly smaller bone structure in females is what makes women more vulnerable to osteoporosis than men. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when too much bone is lost and/or the body makes too little bone.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
There are certain risk factors that can increase your likelihood of getting brittle bones. If you have one or more of the following, it is important that you be proactive in keeping your bones as healthy and strong as possible:
- Family history
- Certain disease, such as diabetes, lupus, celiac, etc.
- Medications, such as steroids, blood thinners
- Increased alcohol consumption
Preventing Bone Loss
The good news is that even if you are prone to osteoporosis, you can take some action steps to prevent it from occurring or keep it from getting severe. Here are some things you can start doing now to ward off weak bones:
- Weight-bearing exercises – walking, hiking, running
- Adequate calcium intake - 1200mg per day
- Adequate Vitamin D intake - between 600-800 IU per day
- Maintain healthy body weight
Detecting osteoporosis at its earliest stage is critical, as there are medications that can be prescribed to slow the process of bone loss. It only takes a quick and painless screening or imaging procedure to evaluate the health of your bones. If you are unsure as to whether or not you should get screened for osteoporosis, please let us know. At North Pointe OB/GYN Associates, we welcome the opportunity to teach women about their bone health and give them instructions on how to increase their bone strength before, during and after menopause.