This is the type of osteoporosis that occurs in women after menopause as a result of estrogen loss. Bone is a living tissue that is always changing. After menopause, the decrease in estrogen triggers a rise in cells that break down bone tissue, creating a situation where bone loss occurs faster than bone formation. For many women, the result is decreased bone density and strength. This can lead to an increased risk of fractures, or bone breaks.
Not all women get osteoporosis after menopause, but for those who have the disease, the effects of declining estrogen can be quick. Women can lose as much as 20% of their bone mass in the first 5 to 7 years after menopause. The good news: if you take the necessary precautions earlier in life, you can keep your bones strong and help protect yourself against postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Quick Tips to prevent or manage postmenopausal osteoporosis:
- Test Your Bones: Performed on a regular basis (frequency recommended by your doctor), repeated tests can show if your bone density has increased, decreased, or stayed the same. This is valuable information for you and for your doctor to determine if your current management plan is working well—or if you should consider another plan of action.
- Eat Smart: If you don’t supply enough calcium to meet the body’s needs, your body will take calcium from your bones. So adopt a healthy diet that will provide enough intake of calcium and all the other key bone-health ingredients, and also consider supplementing since food sources may not be sufficient for your needs.
- Stay Active: Certain forms of exercise—weight-bearing exercise and muscle-strengthening exercise—build bone density and help slow bone loss. Other types of exercise, such as balance and posture exercises, can help decrease the risk of falls and broken bones. National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise on most days and strengthening exercises on each major muscle group 2 to 3 times a week. Before starting any exercise program, talk to your doctor.