|Bone Health & Menopause|
|Sunday, 08 October 2006 15:13|
When we were children, some of our parents always told us to drink our milk so we could grow up to have strong bones. Our bones grew longer, thicker and denser as we grew taller and stronger. Women acquire about 98% of their skeletal mass at around the age of 20. Our bones continue to slowly grow until about age thirty when they reach their peak bone density. Our thirty-year old bones were the biggest and most dense they were our entire lives. Our peak bone density is dependent on a number of things – like our genetics, diet and exercise, whether we smoke and how much alcohol we consume.
Then, at about age thirty-five, we start losing more bone than we build. Now, at menopause, this bone business is getting confusing since we now have to worry about things like osteoporosis.Our hormone levels fluctuate and bone density is compromised due to our loss in estrogen. We worry that one day we’ll start getting shorter and more bent over and we want to avoid turning into that old lady with a dowager’s hump on her back.
For the days leading up to the dreaded takeover of the bone teardown crew, remember your 3 Bs… Build healthy Bones Before menopause. Help your bone-building squad by keeping them healthy. Work with them to create a good foundation that not even menopause can tear down!
0.1. Bone Basics
The bones in your body are alive with their very own blood vessels, nerves and storage compartments that hold calcium and other minerals. Just as the frame of your house is built of wood, the framework of your bones is a crystal calcium matrix. Bones are built when calcium molecules are deposited on the matrix.
Bones are constantly changing as they are broken down by osteoclasts and rebuilt regularly by osteoblasts. When our bones were growing very rapidly during our adolescent years, the osteoblasts were working overtime. After our mid-thirties, the osteoclasts take over and our bone mass decreases gradually.
Our hormones help regulate the process by controlling calcium metabolism. Did you know vitamin D is actually a hormone also? The role of vitamin D is to help your bones absorb calcium and phosphorous to support mineralization. When hormone levels drop during menopause and production slows down, the bone builders take a break and osteoporosis and arthritis can settle into the scene.
0.2. Osteoporosis and Menopause
Osteoporosis is not an inevitable disease caused by menopause. Estrogen and other hormones are connected to bone density. They help absorb the calcium and magnesium to build your healthy bones. So when you reach menopause and your estrogen levels drop, you aren’t able to digest as much of the calcium and magnesium from foods. Most women add calcium and magnesium supplements to their diet because the same amount won’t go nearly as far to help build bones.
Other factors that contribute to bone loss are:
Visit our Osteoporosis section for more information
Osteopenia is a new term that describes a condition of low bone density. The term was developed by experts to inform people that although they might not have full blown osteoporosis, they very might be well on their way. Osteopenia is not a disease. It is a lower than normal peak bone mineral density but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis.
Some medical experts argue that the term osteopenia was created just to help more women pay attention to their bone health. Some people who have osteopenia may not even have bone loss. They may just naturally have a lower bone density. It is diagnosed with a bone mineral density (BMD) test. Osteopenia screening is recommended for the same people as osteoporosis screening.
Browse our Bone Basics Newsletter for more information and tips on how to keep your bones healthy..
|Last Updated on Friday, 28 October 2011 14:13|