How Does Menopause Affect Bones?
Menopause contributes to problems with bone health in women. Women are more at risk for osteoporosis with the onset of menopause. To counter the effects of menopause on the bones, learn how to prevent brittle bone disease.
Osteoporosis is the condition of weakened bone. During your 30s, you reach a peak in bone development and density. All throughout your life, your bone cells are continually breaking down and building new bone. How much new bone is developed is dependent on diet, exercise and managing bone loss during menopause.
When your body breaks down old cells and build new ones, there can be an imbalance in the process. Lower estrogen levels can cause more breakdown and less new bone being created. This leads to weaker bones that have trouble supporting you throughout daily activities. Weaker bones mean more hip fractures and other breaks from falls where stronger bone wouldn’t be affected.
The main reason that brittle bones become an issue during menopause is the lack of estrogen. Estrogen deficiency leads to bone loss. As you age, a measure of bone density is lost anyway and menopause increases that condition. But, there are ways to fight back and keep the bone you already have.
Increased calcium levels nourish strong bone. Some turn to supplements, but it is better to get your calcium from the foods that you eat. Green vegetables, lean meat and dairy products provide calcium. You don’t need more than 2,000IU each day. You and your doctor can go over your diet to see if a supplement is necessary.
Getting too much calcium can reverse what you are trying to achieve. Adding supplements when you already have a sufficient amount of calcium from food can lead to the formation of kidney stones. If you’ve ever had one, it is quite painful to pass.
Along the same lines as calcium is vitamin D. Vitamin D works in tandem with calcium to maintain strong bone. The most efficient source of vitamin D is sunlight. A daily dose of sunlight increases vitamin D levels without the need for supplements.
Bone remains strong with weight bearing and high impact exercises. Strength training not only builds and maintains muscle tissue, but also keeps bones dense. Participating in activities like basketball, volleyball and jogging helps to keep bones strong because of the impact. Exercise in itself strengthens your bones so that bone loss is not a major issue for you when you transition into menopause.
Brittle bone disease or osteoporosis becomes a major problem for women during menopause. The best way to combat bone loss is to avoid it in the first place. Healthy diet, exercise and a daily dose of sunlight keeps bones stronger now while your body is still producing estrogen. Then, during menopause, you already have a process in place to maintain your bone density.