Today is World Osteoporosis Day, so we will pause from discussing fashion, and take time for a critical health discussion for postmenopausal women. I am partnering with Amgen to bring you vital information about osteoporosis and bone health…something very important to me.
I was alerted to my personal risk of the onset of osteoporosis seven years ago after a bone scan, or DXA, which showed me to be in the early stages of bone loss. With the help of my doctor and a changed lifestyle, I have been able to manage my bone health. I now make caring for my bones a priority, and I want to encourage you all to do the same and start talking to your doctor about a bone health plan.
I am going to assume some of you may not be familiar with osteoporosis, or its prevalence. Simply put, 1 in 2 women in the U.S. over 50 will experience a bone break due to osteoporosis in their lifetime! Yes, that is 1 in 2!1
But what exactly is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both.2 As a result, bones become weak and more likely to break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even a strong sneeze 2 Despite common belief, osteoporosis is not a “normal” part of aging.1 And although it is a chronic disease with no cure, 1,3 it can be well managed with the help of your doctor and a healthy lifestyle.
When I turned 60, my doctor recommended I get a DXA scan for two main reasons:
- I had shrunk one half inch from 5’81/2 ” to 5’8”. (That alone horrified me)
- My mother had osteoporosis and took medication for it.
Apart from my own medical history, I also knew several women, including my mother-in-law, who had fallen and broken hips and were never able to be as active again.
The DXA scan showed me to be in the early stages of bone loss. Fortunately, with the help of my doctor and a changed lifestyle, which has included adding in weight-bearing exercises and a more calcium and vitamin D-rich diet, I have been able to manage my bone health. I have been re-tested twice since then with encouraging results and have amazed my doctor at how I have been able to consistently increase my vitamin D levels over the last seven years. Here I am just reading my cookbook on the patio while meal prepping. While a healthy diet and regular exercise are important for both overall health and bone health, they are not always enough on their own for women with osteoporosis.
There are many factors that put someone at greater risk for osteoporosis, including:
- Being postmenopausal4,5
- Low body weight4,5
- Having a parent who had a hip fracture4,5
- Smoking 4,5
- Vitamin D deficiency4,5
- Calcium deficiency4,5
Here are some key facts about osteoporosis:
- Osteoporosis is known as a silent disease because you can’t feel bones weakening. Some people don’t even know they have osteoporosis until after they break a bone.2
- Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, placing them at increased risk for breaking a bone.6
- In addition to the physical effects like pain, osteoporosis-related fractures can lead to a change in lifestyle.5,7
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Despite exercise and nutrition, it’s still possible that I could still suffer a fracture, so I cannot relax when it comes to caring for my bones. Especially knowing that osteoporosis-related fractures send more women 55+ to the hospital than heart attacks, strokes or breast cancer.8*
Please take osteoporosis as seriously as you would any other disease. A fall can happen when we least expect it. It was our dog who caused my MIL’s fall. You never know… so talk to your doctor and get working on your bone plan today!
RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE
- National Osteoporosis Foundation
- American Bone Health
KEEP SMILING AND TAKE CARE OF YOU!
By Pamela Lutrell
Disclaimer: I was provided compensation for this post, but all words are my own.
* Study conducted in population of U.S women aged ≥ 55 years between years 2000-2011.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2004.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It? https://nof.org/patients/what-is- osteoporosis. Accessed September 22, 2020.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Washington, DC: National Osteoporosis Foundation; 2014.
- Camacho PM, Petak SM, Binkley N, et al. American Association Of Clinical Endocrinologists/American College Of Endocrinology Clinical Practice Guidelines For The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis-2020 Update. Endocr Pract. 2020;26(Suppl 1):1-46.
- Cosman F, de Beur SJ, LeBoff MS, et al. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis [published correction appears in Osteoporos Int. 2015 Jul;26(7):2045-7]. Osteoporos Int. 2014;25(10):2359-2381.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. Fast Facts. https://cdn.nof.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Osteoporosis-Fast-Facts.pdf. Accessed September 22, 2020.
- Inacio MC, Weiss JM, Miric A, Hunt JJ, Zohman GL, Paxton EW. A Community-Based Hip Fracture Registry: Population, Methods, and Outcomes. Perm J. 2015;19(3):29‐36.
- Singer A, Exuzides A, Spangler L, et al. Burden of illness for osteoporotic fractures compared with otherserious diseases among postmenopausal women in the United States. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90(1):53-62.