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Women’s Health: Get the Facts on Osteoporosis!

In May we acknowledge Women’s Health Awareness, drawing our attention to prominent health issues among women, such as Osteoporosis. Certain factors place people at greater risk for developing Osteoporosis. Fortunately, healthy lifestyle choices that promote bone health have proven beneficial.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak, leading to possible bone deformities and fractures. The Mayo Clinic comments on Osteoporosis stating, “Bone is living tissue, which is constantly being absorbed and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn't keep up with the removal of old bone.”

Which individuals are at greater risk of developing Osteoporosis?

Although both men and women can be diagnosed with Osteoporosis, the condition is more commonly seen in post-menopausal women (approximately after age 50). Other risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, reduced dietary intake of calcium & vitamin D, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Womenshealth.gov outlines the follow as risk factors to Osteoporosis:

  1. Females
  2. Menopause & premature menopause
  3. Thin people (under 127 lbs.) & anorexia
  4. Family history
  5. Ethnicity: Asian, African American, and Latinos
  6. Not getting sufficient exercise
  7. Long term use of the following medications: glucocorticoids, anti-seizure drugs, gonadotropins, antacids containing aluminum, thyroid replacement hormone, and certain cancer treatments.

      The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIH), documents in the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease National Resource Center the loss of bone mass, which is a process that occurs in Osteoporosis. A loss of bone mass weakens bones, leading to deformities and fractures seen in people with Osteoporosis.

The NIH provides a through explanation on the loss of bone mass noting:

The amount of bone tissue in the skeleton, known as bone mass, can keep growing until around age 30. At that point, bones have reached their maximum strength and density, known as peak bone mass. Women tend to experience minimal change in total bone mass between age 30 and menopause. But in the first few years after menopause, most women go through rapid bone loss, a “withdrawal” from the bone bank account, which then slows but continues throughout the postmenopausal years. This loss of bone mass can lead to osteoporosis.

What are ways of preventing Osteoporosis?

  1.  Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D (vitamin D is need for proper calcium absorption). Dietary choices that are high in calcium and/or vitamin D include yogurts, cheeses, milk, calcium-fortified oranges juices, salmon, eggs, and green leafy vegetables. Some individuals may require OTC (Over the Counter) or prescriptions for additional calcium supplementation.
  2. Engaging in a routine exercise regimen that suits your individual health needs such as walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, hiking, tai chi, and tennis.
  3. Practice smoking cessation, and refraining from excessive alcohol consumption. The Mayo Clinic reports moderate alcohol intake as one drink per day for women (of all ages) & men over the age of 65, and two drinks per day for men age 65 and younger.
  4. Talk with your physician for suggestions and preventive measures if you have a family history of Osteoporosis.

How do I know if I have Osteoporosis?

In the early phases there may be no evident signs and symptoms. As the condition progresses symptoms range from back pain, stooped or bent posture, protruding abdomen, fractures, to loss of height. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms notify your physician for further guidance and prompt treatment options.

If Osteoporosis is suspected a commonly ordered test is the DXA or DEXA Scan (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry), which measure bone density. Labs are also commonly requested to examine blood markers in bone formation and levels of vitamin D. To learn more on the different tests and diagnostics for Osteoporosis click here to visit WebMD.

Which treatments are recommended for individuals with Osteoporosis?

Bisphosphonates are the standard class of drugs for Osteoporosis. Examples include Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Zometa. In women, early treatments with Estrogen after menopause can assist in maintaining bone density. In men, Testosterone Replacement Therapy along with Osteoporosis medications have shown to be beneficial. To learn more on medication treatments for men and women click here to visit the Mayo Clinic.

 

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.

 

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Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.


For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at: nurseyenny@gmail.com    


 


 


 

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