Definition of Osteoporosis
The word osteoporosis is derived from the Latin words for “porous” and “bone.” The cells in your bones, like most others in your body, are continually dying and being replaced. With age, the body’s ability to replace lost bone cells diminishes. About 20% of bone mass is lost during the first few years of menopause, because bone cell production is influenced by estrogen. The only way to know whether your bones have been weakened is to have a bone mineral density test.
Menopause Osteoporosis can occur with no overt symptoms, so a person might not know she has the problem until she suffers a broken bone, often as a result of a minor bump or movement that would normally not be a problem. Fractures most often occur in the wrist, spine and hip. The spine is particularly vulnerable to tiny “compression fractures.” While these fractures can cause severe pain, they often go unnoticed until you realize that you are not as tall as you used to be, due to the spine being compressed upon itself. Another symptom of compression factors is the development of a curve in the upper spine, often referred to as “dowager’s hump.”
In the later stages of osteoporosis, women may experience more telling symptoms. Signs of late-stage osteoporosis may include collapsed vertebrae and a tendency towards stooping (known as “kyphosis”). Advanced osteoporosis may also cause pain, disfigured bones, and loss of mobility.
Symptoms of Menopause Osteoporosis
Loss of height
Loss of mobility
Causes of Osteoporosis
There are many causes of osteoporosis. Age and gender are primary factors. Genetics also plays a part, as do poor lifestyle choices such as drinking and excess and smoking. Dietary factors include poor nutrition in general, and particularly a lack of calcium in your diet. Insufficient calcium can start affecting bone strength even in childhood and the teen years. The primary osteoporosis cause, however, is the hormonal imbalance that results from menopause.
Menopause Osteoporosis Treatments
Osteoporosis cannot be cured, but lifestyle changes can help slow the process. Limit alcohol consumption, don’t smoke, eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, sardines and almonds. Regular weight-bearing exercise can also slow the progress of osteoporosis.
Prevention, however, for menopause osteoporosis is a key step towards midlife health. Estrogen is of primary importance in maintaining bone strength, so after menopause, lifestyle changes have only limited effectiveness. Traditional hormone replacement therapy carries too many risks for most women. However, there are natural products that can help your body re-regulate its own estrogen supply and prevent menopause osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis during menopause FAQ
FAQ: Are there any dietary vitamins that can help slow the process of osteoporosis?
A: Calcium intake is vital for prevention of osteoporosis during menopause (and its precursor, osteopenia). Vitamin D has been shown to help your body absorb the calcium you get from your diet or from calcium pills. You can get Vitamin D from exposure to the sun, from fortified foods or from supplements. The recommended dosage is generally about 400 mg daily.
Risks of Menopause Osteoporosis
The primary risk of menopause osteoporosis is broken bones. While a wrist fracture can be successfully treated, fractures of the spine or hip are often very debilitating, and can be the start of a downward slide. They generally require hospitalization and often, major surgery. Such fractures can cause permanent disability.