The website of gynecological care expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, offers this information regarding Boning Up On Osteoporosis:
Among the health issues facing menopausal women is osteoporosis, or progressive thinning of the bones. More than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Half of the women over the age of 50 will have a bone fracture due to osteoporosis during their lives.
Those at greatest risk for osteoporosis are women who:
* Have a family history of the disease * Had early onset of menopause * Have a small body frame or fair complexion * Have a history of smoking or alcohol use
Fortunately, osteoporosis can be prevented. A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D and regular weight-bearing exercise are the best ways to prevent bone loss. Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, soda and caffeine only in moderation are also important preventive measures.
Because it’s a “silent disease,” osteoporosis can develop undetected for decades. For many women, losing height or breaking a bone easily is often the first sign of osteoporosis. That’s why early detection is vital. A bone mineral density test screens for osteoporosis and is non-invasive and relatively inexpensive. Based on the initial results, follow-up tests may be necessary, and in all cases, bone density should be re-checked every few years. Paula Jewett, MD, of the Menopause Center of Oregon, recommends that all women have a baseline measurement of bone density as they approach menopause.
While there’s no cure for osteoporosis, several medications are used to slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density and reduce risk of fracture. If you have osteoporosis, or if you’re at increased risk, talk with your physician to find out what medication and course of treatment are right for you.
More information is available at www.osteo.org.