80% of those who suffer from osteoporosis are women, mainly due to the hormone changes that occur in menopause. Since women are at such a high risk, what can they do to prevent or offset the symptoms that come along with this painful disease? Maintaining healthy bones is something older women may hear their doctor talk about, but there may ways even teens can help the longevity of their bones and joints.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a form of arthritis that causes the bones and joints to become weaker over time. Around the age of 35 the gradual weakening of bones and joints happens naturally, but osteoporosis happens at a much faster rate in those with the disease. Until your mid to late 20s, your body will create its own calcium which replaces the loss of bone. You can build up your calcium by taking supplements, but after your reach that peak age your body will not be able to absorb that calcium. People with osteoporosis will not be able to create calcium and replace the loss of bone, leading to the weakening of their bones and joints.
Why Are Women More Likely to Develop Osteoporosis?
The hormones changes that happen during menopause directly correlate with the cause of osteoporosis in women and bone density. Oestrogen is a female hormone that is essential for bone health and after menopause the level of oestrogen drop dramatically, which leads to a fast decrease in bone density.
Other than menopause, having irregular periods (more than 6 months at a time), a hysterectomy, or early menopause seem to be contributing factors as well.
What Are Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
- Pain affecting the joints (hips, knees, elbows, etc)
- Loss of flexibility
- Grating sensation
What Can Be Done to Prevent Osteoporosis?
Research shows that young women who take calcium supplements may have less of a risk of developing the disease. The more calcium you build in your body the better bone health and density you will have. Maintaining a healthy weight and continued exercise as you age has also been shown to offset the symptoms of osteoporosis.
Who Should I See for Osteoporosis?
An orthopedic surgeon will have extensive knowledge of all types of arthritis. One of our surgeons at Elite, Dr. Amanda Martin, specializes in women’s bone health and is passionate about helping her patients prevent and cope with osteoporosis. You can learn more about Dr. Martin here and watch her video on women and bone health here.