Wellness Women's Health

Osteoporosis and Bone Health in Women

May 5, 2022

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.

Osteoporosis Prevention

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.

Osteoporosis Screening

Screening is recommended for all women starting at age 65, and as early as age 50 for some women at high risk.

Risk Factors:

  • 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.

References:

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