Osteoporosis in menopause: useful tips

Osteoporosis frequently appears in menopaus, when estrogen protection is lacking. Here’s how to counter it.

Bone fragility is a very frequent problem after climacteric. Hormone therapy, together with a correct lifestyle and small daily precautions, helps to limit the risk of fractures.

The probability of suffering from osteoporosis increases strongly during menopause, due to the interruption of estrogen production by the ovaries that characterizes this phase of the woman’s life.

Not only that: the risk of greater bone fragility increases when menopause is early. A great help, therefore, comes from the intake of these hormones.

There are also diseases that can cause osteoporosis, such as severe forms of chronic arthritis or thyroid problems. Properly treating these disorders helps not only to counteract osteoporosis, but also to recover bone loss.

However, it should be borne in mind that there are also other risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol abuse, calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency and constitutional thinness. It is therefore possible to reduce the incidence of osteoporotic fractures by adopting a healthy and adequate lifestyle.

A diet rich in calcium and vitamins, adequate exercise and avoiding smoking help to counteract osteoporosis even before menopause.

You may be interested to know how the osteoporosis test works? Read this article.

Bone-friendly hormones

The administration of estrogen is the best solution to limit the risk of osteoporosis and treat its symptoms. In fact, these hormones have an important protective role against bone tissue, because they regulate the amount of calcium present within it.

In the absence of estrogen calcium levels in the bones decrease, causing the skeleton to become porous and fragile.

This therapy can be started at any time after climacteric (onset of menopause) and consists of using patches or taking tablets.

It cannot, however, be carried out in women who have previously suffered from a form of cancer or who are at high risk of developing it, for example due to family history.

The other useful drugs are bisphosphonates, recommended especially for older women and effective against osteoporosis as much as estrogen, and raloxifene associated with calcium and vitamin D.

The importance of nutrition

The most important element for bone health is calcium. The recommended daily dose after menopause is 1.2-1.5 grams.

This amount can be achieved by enriching the diet with milk and dairy products, canned fish, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, legumes and dried fruits. For example, 100 grams of parmesan cheese contains 1 gram of calcium.

It is good to remember that it is best to avoid consuming dairy products together with foods such as fennel, spinach, bran and, more generally, all foods that, containing high amounts of fiber, can reduce absorption.

However, nutrition is not always sufficient to provide doses of calcium and vitamin D appropriate to this stage of a woman’s life. For this reason it is advisable to take supplements, especially as the years go by.

If the diet itself is rich in calcium, an integration of 500 milligrams per day is sufficient, otherwise it is necessary to take at least 1 gram of this element daily.

To facilitate absorption, administration should always take place between meals. In any case, to enjoy all the benefits of supplementation, it is necessary to continue the intake for a long time.

Vitamin D is also very important for bone health. And it is essential to facilitate the absorption of calcium. Again, milk is a good source, but this vitamin is also found in oily fish, eggs and offal.

However, there are supplements that combine vitamin D and calcium in optimal quantities.

The vices that hurt the bones

Both alcohol and smoking are risk factors for osteoporosis. The consumption of alcohol must therefore be limited as a preventive measure.

In fact, doses greater than 60 grams per day, corresponding to an amount greater than four glasses of wine, significantly increase the risk of developing this disease.

The same goes for smoking: not starting to smoke or losing the habit not only reduces the risk of osteoporosis, but also attenuates the other typical symptoms of menopause.

A help from physical exercise

The benefits of exercise are manifested on the body at three hundred and sixty degrees. Movement, in fact, is good for the heart, circulation, muscles and joints, intestines, nervous system.

And, last but not least, to the skeleton because it stimulates the synthesis of bone tissue and makes it more resistant to trauma. In addition, adequate physical activity helps to control weight, a very important factor in the event that, as in osteoporosis, bone fragility is particularly accentuated.

Little effort is enough: walking and cycling, even for just half an hour a day, help keep the bones in shape. It’s always better to move outdoors, because the sun stimulates the production of that vitamin D which is so useful for the skeleton.

Small steps to live in safety

In the case of osteoporosis, fractures can be spontaneous, but in most cases they are due to small traumas, such as trivial falls. For this reason we must try to limit even small accidents as much as possible.

Useful precautions are to use closed slippers and shoes without laces, avoid clothing that is too long and eliminate carpets and steps where one could trip.

Similarly, to avoid slipping it is best not to wax the floors. Finally, it could be useful to prepare handles or handrails to hold on to in the bathroom.

Also beware of drugs that can cause dizziness, low blood pressure or drowsiness or slow down reflexes.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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