Eat a diet high in calcium and engage in regular weight-bearing exercise to lower your chance of developing osteoporosis.

World Osteoporosis Day is celebrated on 20th October to raise global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. Osteoporosis and fractures are risks for postmenopausal women. By 65 years of age, 1 out of every 5 women will have osteoporosis. A skeletal disease that occurs due to weakening and loss of architecture of the bones, osteoporosis leads to increased bone fragility and fracture risk. In women of age below 30 years, the amount of bone loss equals new bone formation, hence bone mineral density is restored. However, in postmenopausal women, new bone formation is reduced due to lack of estrogen, causing weak, brittle, and porous bones; there is a notable decrease in bone mineral density as well.

With the life expectancy increased to greater than 65 years, most women will spend more than one third of their lifetime beyond menopause. Menopause occurs due to depletion of eggs from the ovaries. This greatly impact the hormone estrogen, responsible for several short-term symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and long-term consequences such as increased risk of cardiac diseases and postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Dr Vishwajeet Chavan, Orthopedic Surgeon at Apollo Spectra Pune, says, “Your chance of having osteoporosis, a disorder in which bones become brittle (less dense), may increase during menopause. Increased bone loss is caused by the reduction in oestrogen levels that happens around menopause. In the first five years following menopause, women are thought to lose up to 10 per cent of their bone mass on average.”

He adds that many postmenopausal women require calcium and vitamin D supplements due to poor consumption and other considerations.

Tips to reduce risk of acquiring osteoporosis after menopause

Dr Chavan also points out that women can lower their chance of acquiring osteoporosis around the time of menopause by adhering to a few lifestyle changes. He says:

  • Aim for 1,300 mg of calcium intake per day and include three to four portions of dairy stuff in this.
  • Engage in regular, suitable weight-bearing exercises, such as resistance training with weights (but always do this type of exercise under supervision).
  • Maintain healthy amounts of vitamin D which helps in better calcium absorption.

In addition to this, Dr Narendra Vaidya, Orthopedic Surgeon at Lokmanya Hospital, advises women to limit their alcohol consumption (current guidelines recommend a maximum of two standard drinks per day with two alcohol-free days per week for women) and avoid smoking (smoking cigarettes is associated with a higher risk of developing osteoporosis).

Management of osteoporosis

Although prevention is ideal, there are medicinal options for managing osteoporosis.

Dr. Vaidya elaborates, “There are prescription drugs available for severe bone thinning that can decrease or stop bone loss, create new bone, boost bone density, and assist lower the risk of fracture. You can delay the process and lower your risk of osteoporosis, but you can’t totally eliminate the bone loss that comes with ageing. Women should start getting their bone density checked at age 65.”

Eat a diet high in calcium and engage in regular weight-bearing exercise to lower your chance of developing osteoporosis. To get the most benefits, it is ideal to adopt certain lifestyle behaviours when you are younger, conclude the experts. Home Page

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