The painful, crippling and, occasionally, life threatening bone ailment referred to as osteoporosis is the single most significant health hazard for girls who’ve reached the menopause – it is more prevalent than heart disease, stroke, diabetes or breast cancer.

The word “osteoporosis” is derived from the Greek and means “bone that’s many holes”. A specific X-ray of affected bones will reveal then have a “low bone density”, which means there may be an increased risk of fracture. Some bones can be so fragile as to fracture with coughing, even a hug. 1 in 4 elderly girls who fracture the neck of the thighbone (femur) after a tumble expire in hospital. So osteoporosis must be taken seriously and prevented if at all possible. Black women, because they have greater bone density7, have a lower risk of osteoporosis than white women. Osteoporosis also appears in aged men, although much more rarely than in girls.

What Happens?

As oestrogen and progesterone levels drop after the menopause, bones start to lose mass by upward to 3 percent annually. By the time a girl is 80, she can readily have lost half of her bone mass. Healthy Bone has blood vessels and nerves and an extremely efficient repair and care system. There are special cells, called osteoblasts, that revive, repair and lay down new bone, and others, called osteoclasts, that cause bone failure.

The action of osteoblasts is restrained primarily by hormones, including oestrogen, which is believed to raise the repair and renewal rate of bone. If oestrogen levels drop, bone isn’t replaced as economically.

Am I At Risk?

  • If you’re menopausal, yes. Menopause is the primary source of osteoporosis.
  • If you’ve afflicted peak bone density, yes. Bone density typically peaks at around age 25-27. If your peak bone density is low, less bone loss will be required to develop osteoporosis when you reach the menopause. Anorexia and continued dieting lower your peak bone density, making you a candidate for osteoporosis down the road.
  • If your mom has osteoporosis your danger is higher than typical.
  • Osteoporosis happens in some women with premenopausal lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhoea), due to low oestrogen levels.
  • Girls like ballet dancers, who work out excessively while living on limited diets, are at risk.
  • Girls that have an overactive thyroid gland are in danger of developing osteoporosis.
  • The before the age of the menopause, with its depletion of oestrogen, the greater the danger of osteoporosis.
  • The menopause may begin up to five years early in heavy smokers, so smoking is a risk factor for osteoporosis.
  • Hysterectomy and removal of the ovaries cause loss of bone mass. Most girls reveal early signs of osteoporosis within four years of removal of the ovaries if HRT isn’t given.
  • If you’ve taken corticosteroids, including cortisone or prednisone, for longer than six months you’re a candidate for osteoporosis thus request a bone scan when the treatment is over.
  • Malignant disease, a chronic liver ailment or rheumatoid arthritis all increase the danger.

What Are The Symptoms?

  • If you’re 50 or over, any curvature of the spine (kyphosis) and reduction of height deserve special attention.
  • Symptoms which will indicate osteoporosis contain upper and low back pain, aches and pains in the joints and limbs, swollen joints at the ends of your fingers.
  • Fractures are an extremely common symptom of osteoporosis, usually the first indication that someone has the state.
  • If you’re over 40 and you fracture your wrist or hip after a slight fall, you’re likely to have osteoporosis. (The working rule is if you sustain a fracture after minor injury, osteoporosis is present.)
  • Fractures of the wrist, Colies’ fractures, in menopausal women are endured when they Drop and reach out to save themselves.
  • Hip fractures are among the most serious types of fracture because they leave an aged man immobile.
  • Compression fractures of the vertebrae are Additionally common leading to a decrease in height and an external curvature of the back, called Dowager’s Hump.

Pain Relief

  • Girls with vertebral osteoporosis can endure extreme back pain, especially after a brand new fracture, and may want powerful prescription painkillers.
  • Curvature of the spine creates continuing muscle and ligament pain, but this can be treated with non-prescription painkillers, including paracetamol or codeine.
  • Physiotherapists use various types of electrotherapy or ultrasound to help alleviate pain.
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) machines for pain relief are accessible in the majority of treatment centres and drugstores.
  • Complementary techniques including acupuncture, and the usage of heat pads, hot- water bottles or ice packs at home, are occasionally helpful for pain but they don’t correct osteoporosis.
  • An occupational therapist can guide you on the best way to arrange your house and work Surroundings to minimize pain. You should sit in a seat with a high back that gives support to the entire spinal column, and your bed should be solid, but not so tough that it cannot adapt the modified contour of your spinal column.

How Do I Prevent Osteoporosis?

Since all girls are in danger of developing osteoporosis, it’s important that we embrace self- help measures early in order to develop our resistance to it.

Take Regular Exercise At Least From The Age Of 35

Exercise is vital at the menopause. Increased muscle strength, enhanced spinal power and bearing, care of bone strength, alleviation of pain, and toning of pelvic floor muscles to handle stress incontinence are all advantages of exercise. Join a keep-fit class. Girls who take regular weight bearing exercise – walking will do – twice a week have denser bones than those who take exercise once weekly, who, consequently, have denser bones than those who never require exercise in any respect. It’s never too late to reinforce your bones.

Eat A Calcium-Rich Diet

From an early age consistently take the chance to eat calcium-rich foods, for example dairy products, fish with bones (like sardines) and dark green vegetables. Seek them out, keep them in the refrigerator, pick them from restaurant menus.

Contemplate HRT

1 would indicate that a practical way of preventing osteoporosis, once you’re menopausal, is to require enough oestrogen to preserve bone mass. HRT in the form of oestrogen taken always in combination with progestogen for 10-13 days per month appears to optimize bone health, and prevent fractures. Ideally, you should have a bone density test to evaluate your bone health before HRT is prescribed but it isn’t required. You should discuss the possibility of taking HRT, orally or through the skin via gel or a skin patch, with your physician. There are over 50 types in the marketplace so one should suit you.

Make sure you give yourself a four-month trial. You have to choose IIRT for five years for your bones to advantage and the advantage is lost when you quit.

Natural kinds of HRT, including progesterone cream, have NEVER been revealed to have any effect on osteoporosis.

Preventing Fractures

As the biggest risk of osteoporosis is a fracture, it’s critical that you simply help yourself prevent it occurring.

  • Routine exercise, a balanced diet and mental alertness will help keep overall fitness, which lowers your odds of falling greatly.
  • Keep great eyesight by having your eyes examined frequently, especially for a state referred to as glaucoma.
  • Prevent sedatives and other drugs which may reduce your alertness, including antihistamines, and attempt to limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Reduce the risks at home by removing any trailing electric flexes and loose carpeting.
  • Make sure there’s consistently a business handrail on stairs and he especially on guard when walking on slippery or uneven surfaces.
  • Some girls avoid going out and, because of this, may have problems with lack of exercise and vitamin D (through lack of exposure to the sunlight). This may make their osteoporosis worse.
  • Counselling, psychological support and speaking to other menopausal women with similar issues can do much to give a girl a more favourable approach to life and help her become more sociable and confident.
  • Have routine health checks with your physician.
  • Request your physician to assess your heart and blood pressure per annum.