Menopause and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a medical condition that results in decreased bone density and an increased risk of fractures particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Our bones are constantly renewing and laying down new bone cells in response to microscopic damage caused by day-to-day movement. Cells called osteoclasts ensure that bone is broken down and reabsorbed while osteoblasts produce new bone cells to replace them. This process is how everyone’s skeleton stays strong and healthy.
Oestrogen is important for bone density, and the lower levels that accompany perimenopause and menopause leads to higher bone reabsorption and lower production of new bone cells, or in layman’s terms, thinner and more brittle bones. While menopause may be a normal part of ageing, it comes with some problems that we need to be aware of, such as an increased risk of breaking a bone and developing various bone-related conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Hence, menopause and osteoporosis are two conditions that are closely linked.
Losing bone density is inevitable during menopause and in later life, but there are lots of things we can do to slow down this process and ensure we're laying down as much new bone as possible.
To be able to effectively stave off the loss of bone density, we need to understand what is involved in the production of new bone. In this article, we will discuss the ways in which women can prevent osteoporosis during perimenopause and menopause.
1. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for preventing osteoporosis. Women should consume a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is an essential nutrient for building and maintaining bone density, while vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods such as cereals and orange juice. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as milk and cereal. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight, as being underweight can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Getting the right nutrients and in the right combination is also vital and while we can all take steps to improve our diets, it's not always easy to achieve that balance and combination every day. That's where The MenoShake™ comes in, as it delivers the right nutrients in the right combination for optimum bone production.
2. Engage in regular exercise
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, running, and weight lifting, are particularly effective in building and maintaining bone density. Resistance training is also important, as it can help to increase muscle mass and strength, which can help to protect bones from fracture.
Making sure we get enough exercise is a good place to start, as the benefits of this are far reaching and can improve many areas of our lives, from mood to sleep to circulation. Exercise helps strengthen everything around our bones, giving us stronger muscles and tendons that will help support thinning bone. At this time of our life, we may want to swap pounding the pavements for lower impact exercise such as swimming or aqua-aerobics. Another consideration is rebounding (using a mini trampoline). A little-known fact is that NASA uses rebounding to help negate the bone mass loss of astronauts when they return to Earth from Space. This exercise is gentle on joints whilst the g-force on the body works on the entire skeleton to keep it strong.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is a significant risk factor for osteoporosis. Smoking can decrease bone density by reducing the absorption of calcium and increasing the breakdown of bone tissue. Women who smoke should quit to reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis.
4. Limit alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Women should limit their alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day.
5. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT is a medical treatment that can be used to reduce the symptoms of menopause and prevent osteoporosis. HRT works by replacing the hormones that are lost during menopause, including estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is essential for maintaining bone density, and HRT can help to prevent the rapid loss of bone density that can occur during menopause. However, HRT is not appropriate for all women, and the risks and benefits should be discussed with a healthcare provider.
6. Get regular bone density screenings
Regular bone density screenings can help to detect osteoporosis early, before it progresses to the point of fracture. Women should discuss with their healthcare provider about how often they should have a bone density screening.
7. Consider supplements
In addition to a healthy diet, supplements can be used to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium supplements can be used to ensure that women are getting enough calcium in their diet. Vitamin D supplements can also be used to ensure adequate absorption of calcium. Getting sufficient calcium from our diet is vital, however calcium alone isn’t enough to create healthy bones. We need vitamin D alongside calcium when we ingest it, either from our food or from The MenoShake™, to enable our bodies to turn that calcium into new bone cells. Other supplements, such as magnesium and vitamin K which are also included in The MenoShake™, may also be beneficial for bone health.
8. Manage underlying medical conditions
Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders and autoimmune disorders, can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Women with these conditions should work with their healthcare provider to manage the underlying condition and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
9. Consider medication
Several medications are available to prevent and treat osteoporosis. These medications work by increasing bone density and reducing the risk of fractures. Women who are at high risk of developing osteoporosis may benefit from taking medication to prevent the condition.
10. Medical interventions
Other medical interventions including bisphosphonates and parathyroid injections can be considered, but the former can cause heartburn and the latter can be expensive if not available on the NHS. We think the best way to approach bone maintenance in perimenopause, menopause and into later life is to take a holistic approach and look at the bigger picture.
11. Exposure to sunlight
Exposure to sunlight is the easiest way to get enough vitamin D, but during the winter it's not always possible to get enough, especially if you live in the UK. Supplements and subtle diet or lifestyle changes can really help here. Why not schedule in 15 minutes of quiet contemplation or meditation in the sun (when summer comes back around) with your daily MenoShake™, to reach several wellness goals in one?
In conclusion, osteoporosis is a significant health concern for women during perimenopause and menopause. It is important for women to talk to their healthcare provider about their risk for osteoporosis and to discuss strategies for prevention and management, particularly during the menopausal transition.
There are several steps that women can take to prevent or manage the condition. By maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, getting regular bone density screenings, taking supplements, managing underlying medical conditions, and considering medication, women can reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis and protect their bones. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also be an option for some women, but it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider.
Author: Samantha William
Leave a comment