Osteoporosis and Bone Health in Women
Did you know that approximately 1 in 2 women, age 50 and older, will break a bone due to osteoporosis? About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass. This is a disease that is more common in women than men, and can cause serious and painful lifelong consequences if not treated.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both (BHOF, 2022), and as a result, bones become weak and may fracture. Luckily, this is a disease that can be prevented and treated.
Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential to help keep your bones healthy.
- Ensure a nutritious diet and adequate calcium intake.
- Avoid under-nutrition, particularly the effects of severe weight-loss diets and eating disorders.
- Maintain an adequate supply of vitamin D.
- Participate in regular weight-bearing activity and exercise.
- Avoid smoking and second-hand smoking.
- Avoid heavy drinking.
Screening is recommended for all women starting at age 65, and as early as age 50 for some women at high risk.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
- Age: the older you get, the greater your risk.
- Race: White or Asian descent are higher risk.
- Family History: having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at a higher risk.
- Body Frame Size: small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol/tobacco use
- Lowered sex hormone levels
A bone density scan, or DEXA scan, is a special x-ray exam that can detect low bone mass and measure bone mineral density (CDC, 2020). This is the only exam that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you need to do to screen for risk factors today. Reach out to your Primary Care provider for more questions.
- Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF) (2022). What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It? Retrieved online on April 18, 2022, from https://www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020). Does Osteoporosis Run in Your Family? Retrieved online on April 18, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/osteoporosis.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Ffeatures%2Fosteoporosis%2Findex.html