Osteoporosis is a disease in which the minerals that build bones are lost faster than they are replaced. This causes the bones to become porous, brittle, and weak. Estrogen is responsible for decreasing the loss of these minerals. As you enter you late 40s to early 50s, your ovaries will reduce the amount of estrogen produced until they stop producing it all together. This means your bones will start to lose minerals faster and you may develop postmenopausal osteoporosis. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent this loss and keep your bones healthy.
The mineral needed to build strong bones is calcium. To make up for the loss in your body, you will need to take more in. You can do this by eating more foods high in it, such as dairy products, broccoli, kale, and salmon. You will also need to increase your vitamin D intake because it is required for the absorption of calcium into the body cells. Eggs, fatty fish, and foods fortified with the vitamin are good options. In addition, spending time in the sun increases the production of vitamin D.
You will also need to avoid some foods that increase the loss of calcium. These include salt, alcohol, and caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee will not help because the process used to remove the caffeine can also increase calcium loss.
Strength exercises not only increase your muscle mass; they also increase bone density. The more dense your bones are heading into menopause, the more it will take to make them weak. In addition, exercising will help keep your bones strong as calcium is lost. However, you will need to be careful of performing any exercises in which you may fall or put undue pressure on the bones.
Bone Density Test
Once you turn 40, talk with your doctor about having a bone density test. This will give you a baseline of how strong your bones are before any osteoporosis begins. Once you enter menopause, have the test done again, and then repeat it periodically after your menstrual cycle has stopped completely. If the density is too low, your doctor may prescribe medications or suggest hormone replacement therapy.
If your bones become weak or brittle, they may break with a simple bump or fall. They will also take longer to heal. In addition, having a bone or joint replacement becomes more difficult because there is less bone tissue for support. It is up to you to work to prevent bone loss as much as possible. Start taking action now, and it won't become a problem later, when things have already started to deteriorate. Companies like Radius Health, Inc. can also give you more guidance.