It’s a well known fact that women are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis due to the fact that women on average have thinner bones and also estrogen, which keeps bones strong, decreases dramatically once women reach menopause. The International Osteoperosis Foundation released a study that shows that one in three women over the age of 50 will experience bone-related fractures. This can also affect younger women, so it is crucial to do everything in your power to be proactive about prevention. Here’s how to do just that.
First and foremost, it is important to check your bone density, which is done through bone mineral density testing and a DEXA scan. This scan is especially recommended to those who have a high risk of osteoporosis. Women who experience large gaps of time between periods (over a year), take glucocorticoids for more than three months for inflammation treatment, and those with health conditions like arthritis are all in the risk-category.
In severe cases, some women can also experience spine fractures while they are pregnant. This is why some health professionals recommend a cesarean section in order to avoid fractures in the pelvic bone. One study from Johns Hopkins University found that teenage pregnancy put girls at a higher risk for osteoporosis because teenagers have a small window of opportunity to build bone mass. That means mother and fetus may be competing for calcium.
There are treatments available for osteoporosis, including medications like stontium ranelate, bisphosphonates, and selective estrogen receptor modulators. Anabolic therapies have also begun to show some promise, but are still relatively new.
The best course of action is to take preventative measures throughout your life in order to avoid developing osteoporosis in general. New mothers especially, with guidance from a doctor, should make sure their calcium, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D intake is sufficient.
Consuming a variety of lean proteins, avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol, and avoiding substance misuse are all helpful. Additionally, avoiding smoking and spending time doing bone-building exercises can help ensure bone strength.
Bone-building exercises include weight-bearing workouts like strength training and lifting weights, running, jump rope, and high impact aerobic exercises. For those who are taking oral contraceptives, it is important to discuss with your doctor since some that are safe to take while breastfeeding might have a negative impact on bone health.
Low bone density is a lot more common than most people realize, which is why having a bone test should be a priority in order to know of and prevent the risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia. For those who do have low bone density, there are treatments available, so it’s important to know. Even if not, it is important for all new mothers and women in general to keep a healthy diet and active lifestyle to keep your bones strong and healthy.