Women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men because they have thinner bones, and estrogen (a hormone which protects bones) decreases sharply when women reach menopause. Recent statistics obtained from the International Osteoporosis Foundation show that one in three women over 50 will experience bone-related fractures in their lifetime, but the problem can also affect younger women. Around 2% of young adults have osteoporosis, and about 18% have osteopenia – in which one has lower bone density than average, though not low enough to be classed as osteoporosis. Low bone density can therefore affect women of child-bearing age and those who are mothers of young children. How can you prevent osteoporosis, and how can you discover your bone density?
Discovering Whether You Have Osteopenia Or Osteoporosis
The first step when it comes to protecting your bone health is getting to know your bone density through bone mineral density testing. This is usually done via a DEXA scan (a non-invasive test involving the aiming of X-ray beams at bones). Very low doses of radiation are used, yet the text is highly effective at measuring even tiny losses in bone density. This scan may be recommended if you have an increased risk for osteoporosis. Risk factors for the condition include being a woman and having large gaps (i.e. over a year) between periods, taking glucocorticoids for three months or more to treat inflammation, and having a health condition such as arthritis.
The Relationship Between Low Bone Density And Pregnancy
As reported by CCRM Fertility, osteoporosis is not an impediment to getting pregnant, but in severe cases of this condition, women can experience spine fractures during pregnancy. In some cases, health professionals may recommend a cesarean section to avoid pelvic bone fractures. Age is also relevant when it comes to pregnancy and osteoporosis. One study by researchers at John Hopkins University found that teenage pregnancy may put girls at risk for osteoporosis. The researchers found that because teens have a narrow window of opportunity to build bone mass, the added demands of pregnancy may mean that a mother and her fetus are competing for calcium. It is important for any woman with osteopenia or osteoporosis to work closely alongside her medical team to ensure both her and her baby’s safety.
Treatments For Osteoporosis
Current treatments for osteoporosis include medications such as bisphosphonates, strontium ranelate, and selective oestrogen receptor modulators. Anabolic therapies for osteoporosis are novel yet promising, with research published in Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs finding that this therapy can restore the bone’s damaged microarchitecture to some degree. Anabolic therapies include SARMs. These are a type of molecular compound that activate a receptor within our cells that coordinates much of the body’s cellular activity – including bone strength. Evidence shows that specific SARMs (such as S-4) can help prevent bone loss and improve strength.
Natural Preventive Measures
Mothers can also take a host of measures in their daily life to reduce their osteoporosis risk. These include boosting their calcium, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D intakes (as recommended by their doctor), consuming a wide variety of lean proteins, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and the misuse of substances, avoiding smoking, and taking part in bone-building exercises. The latter include weight-bearing exercises like strength training (weights), running, jumping rope, and high-impact aerobics. Women on contraceptives should also discuss bone health with their doctors, since some oral contraceptives which are safe to take during breastfeeding (such as Depo-Provera) may have a negative effect on bone health.
Low bone density is much more common in women than some may imagine. Having a bone test should be on your agenda if you have a risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. There are many treatments available if you have low bone density, but even if you don’t, you should embrace a healthy diet and active lifestyle to ensure your bones are healthy and strong.