Osteoporosis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 1994), is a bone mineral density (BMD) 2.5 SD (standard deviation) or more below the adult peak mean. This debilitating musculoskeletal disease is characterized by loss of bone mass, low bone mineral density, reduced bone strength, and increased bone fragility. Currently there are about 8.5 million women in the United States living with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, due to the absence of symptoms until a fragility fracture occurs can be considered a silent threat to a woman’s health.
Estrogen deficiency, and the subsequent effect on bone deterioration that occurs with natural menopause (cessation of menses for one year) or surgically induced menopause, (cessation of menses due to removal of ovaries) has been cited as the cause and primary risk factor for osteoporosis. Both natural and surgically induced menopause are risk factors for osteoporosis. Age, female gender, and heredity are also risk factors for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis, is a chronic disease that can have a negative impact on an individuals’ self-confidence, body image, mental status, physical, social, and economic well-being due to the changes in the quality of life, and potential loss of independence.
Modifiable Risk Factors
Decrease caffeine, decrease salt intake, stop smoking, decrease alcohol consumption, limit or modify protein intake.
Increase physical activity (3-4 times a week for 30-40 minutes).
Weight bearing exercises, such as, walking, running, tennis, dancing, hiking, climbing stairs, etc.
Consult with your health care provider, regarding ongoing steroid use.
Have adequate calcium intake, if not contraindicated. (600-1000mg daily). Calcium rich foods, such as, dairy, green leafy vegetables, beans, citrus, almonds beans. Consult with your primary care provider.
Increase vitamin D intake, (600IU daily), if not contraindicated. Vitamin D rich foods, such as, salmon, tuna, beef, liver, cheese, yogurt. Consult with your primary care provider.
Bone Density Screening
The current recommendation to begin screening is age 65, or age 50 for those individuals with a high clinical risk, such as, frequent fractures and family history of osteoporosis.