Osteoporosis is a weakening disease, but it can be prevented and treated.
Out of ten million Americans estimated to have osteoporosis, eight million are women.
Women’s health is highly impacted by this disease and women are four times more likely than men to contract this disease.
Once contracted, the bones become very fragile and easily fractured.
Fractures generally occur in the hip, spine and wrist. However, any bone can be affected.
Approximately 1.5 million fractures occur every year of which are women.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
There aren’t any “visible” symptoms of this disease. It’s often referred to as the “silent disease.”
You may not know you have it until your bones become weak enough that a fracture happens from the least little thing.
Risks of Osteoporosis
Some of the factors that can lead to this disease:
- Gender is Female
- History of Fractures after age 50
- Low bone mass
- Family history of Osteoporosis
- Estrogen deficiency after menopause, or surgically induced
- Lack of Calcium and Vitamin D
- Eating disorders such as Anorexia
- Inactive lifestyle
- Excessive use of alcohol
You can lose up to twenty percent of your bone mass within five to seven months following menopause. This makes women more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Normally by age twenty you have acquired 95% of your bone mass. It is so very important that younger women realize this today. Building strong bones in your youth is great defense against this disease that severely affects women’s health.
Following are preventive measures you can take:
- Strength Training and Resistance Exercises
- Eliminate nicotine (smoking) and alcohol
- Talk to your doctor about scheduling bone density testing
- A healthy balanced diet which includes the daily requirements of calcium and Vitamin D
Although there isn’t a cure at this time, you can go a long ways in preventing this disease. Medications are available for postmenopausal women for prevention and treatment.
Each year approximately one third of seniors over age of 65 fall. Many are disabled from the injuries that are caused. The falls can happen because of certain medications you may be on. They also happen because of poor vision, hearing, coordination and reflexes.
You can help prevent some of the falls by keeping all wiring, electrical cords etc. out of walking areas. Don’t move furniture around, it’s easier for the elderly because they are accustomed to the layout of the rooms. Installing safety bars in the bathroom help with mobility, especially for seniors. Use skid resistant rugs in areas that are slick such as by the kitchen sink, cooking areas, and bathrooms.
Myths about Osteoporosis
Don’t be fooled by myths, these can be dangerous to women’s health. If you’re unsure of any information regarding this disease, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
Some of the myths you may hear are:
- This disease is a natural part of aging, or only the elderly get this disease.
- Only the elderly get this disease.
- It only affects Caucasian women.
- It’s a rare disease or it isn’t a serious or fatal disease.
- There’s nothing you can do about this disease if you do contract it.
- If you contract this disease, you’ll know it.
Talk To Your Doctor About Your Concerns
Based on your medical history, or that of your family history, if you have any concerns at all talk to your doctor. Be sure and ask any questions that you have concerns about.
Because of the high impact this has on women’s health, all women need to be informed of osteoporosis. The younger you are aware of it, the more you can do to prevent it.
For more information on this disease visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation Web Site. (this will open a new window).