If you are a woman who is gong through menopause, you are at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is prevalent in 20% of women who are 50 and over, and among those women, half of them will experience bone fractures and breakages due to osteoporosis, which is something they need to guard against. New bones are created by phosphate and calcium during our youth, but this process begins to get slower as we get older. Your body can even reabsorb the calcium and phosphate, so your bones become even more fragile, making them much more likely to break.
Osteoporosis works very gradually against you. You can lose bone density and bone strength as the years go on, and even decades in, leaving your bones much weaker than they were in your youth. If you are going through menopause, women who are losing estrogen can get osteoporosis; men can experience drops in testosterone as they age, which also can result in the condition. If you don't take in enough calcium, you can also get osteoporosis. People can often not know that they even have osteoporosis until their condition is advanced.
You can also get osteoporosis in a number of ways besides aging and lack of calcium in your diet. Cushing Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperparathyroidism, and hyperthyroidism can all lead to osteoporosis. You'll also be more likely to get it if your family has a genetic predisposition towards it. If you go into menopause too early, if you weight too little, if you smoke and drink too much, or take steroids and anti-seizure drugs, that can also contribute to the problem. Get Tested
Osteoporosis can be discovered through the administering of a variety of tests. A DEXA, or densitometry scan, is a bone density test that can help determine overall bone density. You can also get hip X-rays and spinal CT scans, but DEXA is far more accurate for finding osteoporosis. You can even get your blood and urine tested, so you can eliminate other possible medical conditions which may contribute to bone loss.
Treatment With Medication
Your physician will treat your osteoporosis in several ways -
1) By providing pain relief
2) By treating your current bones and making them stronger
3) Providing treatments to keep your bones from breaking again
If you are postmenopausal, you can find a variety of drugs that are designed to do this for you. One popular osteoporosis treatment is biophosphates, which are medications such as Actonel, Boniva and Fosamax. You can take them in the form of monthly or weekly pills. You can also get calcitonin, which is injected into your body or inhaled as a spray into your nose, which relives your pain and can retard bone loss. You can try to treat your osteoporosis with hormone replacement therapy; although this is no longer a favored treatment, as there is a long history of bad side effects. If you are a woman who is under a high risk of bone fractures, you might want to do a parathyroid hormone treatment. You would have to inject yourself daily with Forteo, which is a teriparatide, from home. You can cut spine breaks in half by being administered Evista, which is a Raloxifene drug that can help with this. However, it only seems to work with the spine, so wrists and hip fractures will require separate treatment.
Altering Your Lifestyle
If you're worried about osteoporosis, be sure to get the recommended 1,200 mg of calcium you need every day, as well as 1,000 IU of vitamin D3. You'll be able to absorb calcium into your body with the vitamin D.
You can also do balancing and weight bearing exercises so you can still work your body with osteoporosis. You'll keep yourself from falling much more often with the balancing, and you can keep your bone loss at bay as well. Anything that involves you fighting gravity on your feet qualifies as a weight bearing exercise. Biking and swimming don't count, but everything else usually works. You can walk, dance, lift weights, hike, and even play tennis, all of which can be great weight bearing exercises you can try out. You can also do yoga and tai chi in order to increase flexibility and help with your balance as you go through menopause.
Please visit Signs of Menopause Guide for additional information about what to expect during menopause. There are articles about hormone replacement therapy (HRT), natural treatment methods, menopause symptoms and more.