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Osteoporosis

menopause Jun 05, 2022
Osteoporosis

This is a fancy word that describes the stage of bone health that is fragile and weak. Bone is a dynamic organ that is constantly changing. Overtime due to changes in our physiology (how our body works) our hormones and gut function change. This can result in weaker bones, but keeping in mind that bones are dynamic organs, you can always help yourself.

How Do I Know If I Have Osteoporosis?

According to the WHO criteria 22.8% of women and 5.9% of men over 50 have osteoporosis. These figures roughly double by 70 years of age. These is 1 fracture every 2.9 minutes in Australia as of 2022. About half of all women over 60 and a third of men, will be diagnosed with an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. Osteoporosis is diagnosed via what’s called a DEXA scan. This measures your strength of your bones. 

T- Score: This is where your levels are compared to the average levels of women at the age of 21. If you are -2.5 then you are deemed to have osteoporosis. 

Z- Score: This is where your levels are compared to the average levels of women the same age as you. If your score is -2.5 than you most likely have a secondary cause of osteoporosis.

Other signs that may be hinting you have weaker bones: 

  • Easily fracture bones
  • Cracking teeth
  • Pain when you press on your shin bone

I've Been Diagnosed With Osteoporosis
What Do I Do Now?

This depends on your age and the cause of your osteoporosis. 

  • If you’re pre menopausal and have experienced a premature loss of menstruation due to over exercise and lack of appropriate nutrient intake, your main focus should be to regain your period. This can be done by ceasing strenuous exercise and increasing your calorie intake with nutrient rich foods. This can be mentally difficult for womxn with body dysmorphia and the help of a mental health professional should be sought.
  • Post menopausal womxn are naturally lower in oestrogen (remember one of the main building blocks of bone) so it is important to make sure that oestrogen levels are adequate for as long as they can be. This often means going on hormone replacement to add more oestrogen to supplement for the natural loss we experience. There is a golden window of time that lasts up to 5 years post menopausal, this window has been shown to be beneficial for not only bone health but also brain and heart health when womxn implement hormone therapy. You need to speak to your doctor about which combination of hormones is best for you, given your specific history. 
  • Often the medical management will be a class of drugs called biophosphonates. These drugs aim to decrease the rate of bone loss, rather than focusing on building bone. The can be beneficial in women who are 10 years + post menopausal, however it is always important to talk through the possible side effects of medication with your GP as Jaw necrosis can be side effect among others, for this particular type of medication. Read more to learn what you can do…

Factors That Increase My Risk Of Osteoporosis...

In addition to getting older, there are a number of other factors that are associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis they include: 

  • Being female (Damn**)
  • Smoking
  • Low body weight
  • Chronic stress
  • More than 1 caffeinated drink per day (too much makes calcium leach from your body)
  • History of lost period due to over exercising and under eating
  • Excess alcohol consumption (More than 2 standard drinks per day)
  • Sex hormone deficiency (Oestrogen in women and testosterone in men)
  • Genetic risk
  • Endocrine disorders (Hyperthyroidism, Hyperparathyroidism, Cushings etc…)
  • Malabsorption syndromes (IBS, Crohns, Ulcerative colitis etc…)

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