The bone disease known as osteoporosis affects both men and women, but it’s a fact that women are more vulnerable to this condition. In fact, according to statistics collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 18% of women aged 50 and over currently experience osteoporosis of the femur neck or lumbar spine compared to just over 4% of men in this age range. The healthcare providers here at Family Practice Center wanted to discuss the reasons for this discrepancy and what women can do to effectively prevent and treat osteoporosis.
The primary reason that osteoporosis in women is so much more common has to do with changes that a woman’s body experiences during menopause. During this transition, women stop producing the hormone estrogen. Among other functions, estrogen is very important for maintaining the health and density of bones. Once a woman has fully gone through menopause, her risk of developing bone loss and osteoporosis will continue to increase with time.
Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to by experts as a “silent disease” because it is not associated with any noticeable symptoms. However, the effects of this bone loss can accumulate over time and make people with osteoporosis extremely vulnerable to bone fractures and other debilitating injuries. Some potential symptoms of osteoporosis to keep an eye out for include back pain and posture issues including sloping shoulders, height loss, and a curving of the spine.
There are certain things that women can do to help keep their bones healthy as they age and experience menopause. Getting regular aerobic exercise is highly recommended, as maintaining a healthy body weight can help prevent osteoporosis. We also suggest eating a diet rich in nutrients like calcium and vitamin D that can help fortify the bones. Avoiding alcohol and any products with nicotine can also help decrease a woman’s osteoporosis risk.
There are several treatment options that can help women with osteoporosis manage and improve their symptoms. This includes hormone replacement therapy to replenish depleted estrogen supplies, vitamin D and calcium supplements, and prescription medications like bisphosphonates. However, the best course of treatment can often be prevention.
It’s important for women to be aware of osteoporosis and take a proactive approach to their bone health. Making an effort to help promote strong, healthy bones in the years before menopause can often be incredibly helpful. For more information or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers at our Atlanta or Alpharetta location, please contact Family Practice Center. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for additional health tips, news, and so much more.