Osteoporosis and You
Around the time of menopause, the speed at which you lose bone mass increases. The major factor behind this change is a decline in estrogen, a hormone that plays an important role in building and maintaining bone. Women lose bone mass rapidly around the time of menopause.
--As we lose bone mass, it increases our risk of osteoporosis, which in turn increases the risk of fractures. Postmenopausal women are especially susceptible to fractures of the hip, wrist and spine. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of women over the age of 50 will break a bone at some point due to osteoporosis. Bone health is affected by several factors including Gender (women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, Age, Race (white or Asian), a low body weight (BMI less than 20), sedentary lifestyle, low calcium intake and tobacco and alcohol use. Other factors include low levels of estrogen, or an overactive thyroid, eating disorders and certain medications. Bone density tests, such as the DEXA can help determine the mineral content of your bones. Once the DEXA scan measures how dense your bones are, the measurement from the scan is converted to a T-score. The T score reflects how your bone density compares to the average peak bone density of a young adult. Normal is T score above -1, Osteopenia T score between -1 and -2.5 and Osteoporosis -2.5 or lower. All women should be tested at age 65. You can prevent bone loss with good nutrition. Daily calcium intake should be 1200mg over age 50. Vitamin D is also needed, as it helps the body to absorb calcium into the bloodstream. The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 600IU daily. Daily weight bearing exercise and strength training can also decrease your risk. --Some common medications for bone loss include bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Binosto) or Boniva. These drugs work by slowing the rate at which your body breaks down old bone and have relatively few side effects. Another medication is Raloxifene(Evista) which slows bone loss by mimicking estrogen's beneficial effects on bone density in postmenopausal women. Taking this drug may reduce your risk of some types of breast cancer. Calcitonin is a hormone that helps to prevent bone loss and increase bone density in the spine. It's not as effective as other osteoporosis medications that are available and is reserved for women not responding well to other treatments. Please come discuss the Dexa scan and further treatments for Osteoporosis and Osteopenia with Dr Maragh.
Source: Mayo Clinic Website