December 4, 2023 6:09 PM

How Does Osteoporosis Affect Women’s Health?

World Osteoporosis Day is observed every year on Octover 20 to spread awareness regarding the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Speaking of osteoporosis, Dr. R. H. Chauhan, who is an Orthopedic Surgeon at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai said that it is characterised by a decrease in bone volume below a critical threshold, a condition detectable through DXA scans, with a value of less than -2.0. 

In this article, we will delve into the causes of osteoporosis of women and how they can deal with it.

Risk Factors Of Osteoporosis In Women:

Dr Nandita Palshetkar, who is a Gynaecologist, Obstetrician, and Founder and Medical Director of Bloom IVF Group said, “Your risk for osteoporosis  is higher if you are post menopause, have a family history of osteoporosis, have low calcium and vit D levels, physically inactive, have eating disorder, smoke, have health issues like DM, premature ovarian failure, inflammatory bowel disease etc.

What Causes Osteoporosis In Women?

Dr. Vijayalakshmi who is a Consultant Diabetology and Endocrinology at HOSMAT hospital Sadashivnagar, Bengaluru said, “Osteoporosis is more common in women, especially after menopause due to hormonal changes that affect bone health. Reduced Oestrogen levels in women during menopause can lead to bone loss. Women’s health in our country is more often neglected and osteoporosis is a condition that specially affects women as they age and they are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis compared to men.”

“Sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and poor nutrition can contribute to bone loss. In addition to that, medical conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac disease, and hormonal disorders can increase the risk of osteoporosis,” she added.

Diagnosis Of Osteoporosis:

There are some signs and symptoms that may be associated with osteoporosis, including back pain and deformity of spine and loss of vertebral height along with fractures occurring with minimal trauma.

Speaking about the ways to diagnose osteoporosis, Dr. Vijayalakshmi said, “Bone Densimetry, also known as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)  Scan, is a diagnostic test used to measure bone density. It is painless in diagnosis and monitoring of osteoporosis. The DEXA scan provides information about bone mineral density and can help identify individuals at risk for fractures.”

“Additionally, regular screenings and bone density tests are recommended for women, particularly those over the age of 65 or those with risk factors such as family history of osteoporosis or history of fractures,” she added.

How Can Women Maintain Their Bone Health?

According to Dr. R. H. Chauhan, “It is of crucial importance to maintain optimal bone health, especially for women over the age of 50. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is paramount for preserving bone density and strength. For women in this age group, it is recommended to target a daily consumption of 1,200 mg of calcium and 600-800 IU of vitamin D. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese stand as excellent natural reservoirs of calcium.”

“In addition to these, leafy greens, fortified cereals, as well as nuts and seeds, contribute significantly to fulfilling the calcium requirement. Exposure to sunlight is a natural and effective means of enhancing vitamin D levels. Incorporating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel into one’s diet can also contribute to meeting the recommended daily intake. However, in specific cases, supplements may be advised. A balanced diet and regular physical exercise are pivotal in preventing osteoporosis in later years. These practices support bone health and can significantly reduce the risks of fractures and osteoporosis-related complications.”

Lastly, Dr. Vijayalakshmi said, “To maintain healthy bones and to reduce the risk of osteoporosis it is vital for women to engage in regular weight bearing exercises such as walking , jogging , aerobics , weight lifting and strength training. To prevent falls, precautions like removing hazards at home, using appropriate lighting and wearing sturdy foot wear should be taken.”

[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]

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