Bone changes: Osteoporosis is an important health hazard in the menopausal woman. It is defined as a systemic skeletal disease characterized by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone with resultant bone fragility.
1. It is well known fact that the human skeleton reaches it’s maximum height between the ages of 18 to 25 years. There are other factors which influence this overall height like –
– genetic factors
– environmental factors
What is not so well known is that the skeleton continues to grow both in density and mass.
2. Bone mass continues to build until approximately the age of 30 years and remains constant for approximately 5 years, after which bone mass gradually diminishes until the onset of the menopause when bone mass is rapidly lost.
3. Bone loss occurs at the rate of about 2.5% per year for the first year after the menopause so that fractures become a major source of morbidity in the menopausal female.
4. After menopause your body produces much less estrogen which greatly accelerates the decrease in bone mass. During the first five years after menopause a woman can loose as much as 25% of her total bone mass and 33% of her spinal bone mass. The biggest impact of Osteoporosis is fracture leading to back pain, loss of mobility with loss of independence.
Osteoporosis is sometimes known as the “silent disease” because bone loss often occurs largely without symptoms. The first sign of Osteoporosis may be a bone fracture or collapsed vertebra from something as simple as a bump, strain or fall…
When it comes to clinical attention, collapsed vertebrae may first be recognized by a number of factors including: Severe back pain, Loss of height, Spinal deformities, and Stooped posture.
Bone is made up of two layers. The outer cortical bone which is the toughness and the inner Trabecular spongy bone
Women loose approximately half of their cancellous – or Trabencular – bone and 1/3 of cortical bone during their lifetimes. Cancellous bone is concentrated at the ends of long bones and in the vertebral column, the sites of the most common osteoporosis related fractures. Vertebral and wrist fractures are the most common manifestations of postmenopausal osteoporosis, whereas hip fractures are the most common manifestation of senile osteoporosis. Secondary osteoporosis results from certain medical conditions including renal disease, hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism and multiple myeloma, and from drugs that have deleterious effects on bone, including corticosteroids and anticonvulsants.
You may be at increased risk for osteoporosis if you have one or more of these risk factors –
Osteoporosis risk factors:
– A thin, small boned frame
– Early estrogen deficiency
– Advanced age
– Diet low in Calcium and Vit. D.
– Inactive Lifestyle
– Cigarette smoking
– Excessive use of alcohol
– Caucasian and Asian women
– Prolonged use of certain medications
The good news … If you don’t have Osteoporosis, you can prevent it
If you do have Osteoporosis, you can treat it.
Are milk and cheese enough?
After menopause, these measures may not be enough to protect yourself from Osteoporosis. Dietary levels of calcium and factors that influence calcium balance are believed to pay important roles in regulating bone mass.
The same applies to exercise. Lack of physical activity is a suspected risk factor for Osteoporosis. It is important to ask your doctor what you can do. He or she may recommend a prescription medicine to help you prevent or treat Osteoporosis.
What are the alternatives that your doctor may prescribe? – Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
– Serum / Evista