OSTEOPOROSIS AND BONE HEALTH
Osteoporosis is a silent epidemic, and often called the “silent thief”. It robs the bones of stored nutrients and resources, often for decades, and eventually weakens the bones enough that a spontaneous fracture can happen. Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” and usually the first sign that it is present can be falling and breaking a bone.
Osteoporosis is common in post-menopausal women and is caused by a lack of estrogen and calcium. Typically, osteoporosis is an age-related disease, and as a woman ages and her estrogen declines, so do the nutrients that help support bone health. Women who have had hysterectomies before they would normally go through menopause are at higher risk of developing this disease. Osteoporosis is a new epidemic in women’s health. While estrogen deficiency is a huge cause, some other factors also come into play.
Race: Caucasian and Asian women have a slightly higher risk.
Build: Women with thin or fine bones are more at risk.
Smoking: Smoking robs the body of essential nutrients.
Being Underweight: Bones tend to be thinner.
Diet: Lack of Calcium and high in Phosphates (additives added to food such as soda, bottled coffees, meat products, iced tea, cereal bars, etc.)
Excessive Alcohol or Caffeine: Robs the body of essential nutrients
Genetics: Family history of Osteoporosis
Lack of exercise: Mainly strength/ weight related exercises
Medications: Certain medications can flush out certain nutrients
Vitamin Deficiencies: Vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium
Being a Woman: Osteoporosis is 6-8 times more common in women than men, most likely due to lower bone mass
All women who are scheduled or who have had a hysterectomy should look into having a bone density scan. The Dexa scan is a quick, painless scan that measures bone density and bone health, and can be a useful tool as a baseline measurement of both. Since estrogen deficiency is a main cause of Osteoporosis, most women who have had hysterectomies will find that the majority of bone loss will happen in the first two years post-op.
To keep the bones healthy and strong, hormone replacement for lost estrogen is highly recommended. Also paying attention to some simple lifestyle choices can help keep the silent disease at bay.
Replace lost hormones: HRT has been shown to stop, reverse and halt the progression of Osteoporosis. Estrogen helps bone density, while Progesterone helps create new bone growth.
Have regular bone scans to monitor bone health: Get a baseline scan before or right after your hysterectomy. Make a schedule with your doctor for follow-up scans to monitor bone health.
Exercise: Participate in regular weight-bearing exercises. Exercise that involves upright movements that put pressure on the spine and bones should be added. Those types of exercise can be things such as jogging, walking, aerobics, yoga, strength training, etc.
Diet: Getting enough nutrients to help promote bone strength is key. Vitamin D3, Calcium, and Magnesium are the main three that help with bone health. Speak with your doctor to find out the optimal doses for your body. Additionally, eating healthy, non-processed foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
While Osteoporosis is a serious disease, it can be easily avoided. Making sure to take time to evaluate and focus on your bone health can prevent serious long-term issues that can have devastating effects.