Half of all postmenopausal women in the United States experience fractures due to the bone loss of osteoporosis. Although some bone loss occurs naturally due to the aging process, osteoporosis is, most often, preventable. Because there is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause, it is essential that women, especially those at increased risk for developing the disease, take precautions.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
There are several factors that make women more prone to the condition. These include:
- Early menopause (before age 40)
- Absence of menstruation
- Complete hysterectomy
- Thin body build
- Family history of the disease
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive alcohol use
- Bone-thinning medications (e.g. corticosteroids)
- Being Caucasian or Asian
Although African-American women are at slightly less risk of developing postmenopausal osteoporosis, they have a decreased ability to produce vitamin D from the sun and are at increased risk of dying from a hip fracture. Therefore, it is necessary for all women to take steps to prevent this dangerous postmenopausal condition.
Measures to Prevent Osteoporosis
In order to prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis, women should do the following to maintain bone health:
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Refrain from smoking
- Consume alcohol in moderation, if at all
- Undergo regular bone density exams
- Take medication to avert bone loss
These preventative methods are especially important since osteoporosis, once it occurs, is not curable.