In case you didn't know, last month was National Osteoporosis Month. Every year in May, physicians, health experts and advocates seek to raise awareness about this weakening disease. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones, ultimately making them thin and brittle. People who have osteoporosis can easily break their bones and suffer serious injuries.
At Plaza OB/GYN, we find osteoporosis awareness particularly important as women are at a higher risk than men for developing osteoporosis. Startling statistics reveal that one in every two women over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis, which is only one of the complications of this disease which gradually weakens the bones over time.
While there are a variety of factors that contribute to osteoporosis, many cases of osteoporosis in women are connected to menopause. Menopause has a direct impact on the onset of osteoporosis because of the hormonal shift that occurs during this time. When a women enters menopause, her body no longer produces high amounts of estrogen. The lack of estrogen often results in the loss of bone mass.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis in Women
Aside from being a woman entering menopause, risk factors for osteoporosis include being underweight, having a family history of the disease, smoking, drinking and consuming a diet that is low in dairy products.
One of the most disturbing facts about osteoporosis is that the initial stages of this disease are virtually undetectable. Loss of bone mass is not noticeable until it is too late, as people will not experience any symptoms as their bones begin to become weak and brittle. In most cases, osteoporosis in women is first detected when the patient breaks a bone or collapses a vertebrae. This can be extremely painful and can lead to other complications for the patient. But there are precautions that can be taken to identify if a patient is experiencing or likely to experience osteoporosis. Bone density screenings help gain better insight into patient's bones and identify osteopenia or osteoporosis. The standard X-ray treatment, DEXA, measures bone mineral density (BMD) in a non-invasive way with low radiation.
Thankfully, osteoporosis is a disease that is not only treatable, but also preventable. There are many steps that women can take in order to prevent bone mass loss in the future. While women should focus on building strong bones in their adolescent and young adult years, it is never too late to begin making an effort to prevent the onset of osteoporosis later in life. Calcium and Vitamin D are two nutrients that are critical for developing strong bones. Women can consider supplements if their diet does not provide them with enough of these nutrients. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and avoid smoking, as all of these steps will help prevent osteoporosis in the future.
The physicians at Plaza OB/GYN are available to provide you with the information that you need to know about osteoporosis prevention and treatment for this disease. Our reliable bone densitometry procedure helps identify osteoporosis in its early stages. If you are a woman entering menopause or you feel that you are showing the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis, it may be time to come in for a consultation. We invite you to contact us so that we can provide you with the personalized care that you both need and deserve.