Osteoporosis is sometimes known as a “silent disease” because, in many cases, its symptoms may not be noticeable. However, for people with osteoporosis, the bones can become so weak that even a minor bump or fall can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis can affect both men and women, however women are far more likely to be affected. In fact, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women are five times more likely to experience osteoporosis than men. This is especially true for women who have already been through menopause. There is a clear association between osteoporosis and menopause.
The main reason for this is that a woman’s estrogen levels decrease significantly once she enters menopause. Estrogen is crucial for building and maintaining bone density. After menopause, a woman’s bone density may decrease dramatically placing her at an increased risk of fracture.
For women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or those who have gone through menopause, it is crucial to be proactive and begin treatment before your condition worsens and bone loss increases. Treatment for osteoporosis typically includes medications and supplements intended to help restore bone density that has been lost. Hormone replacement therapy can effectively replace estrogen that is lost after menopause in an effort to maintain bone mass and health. Vitamin D and calcium supplements are also very commonly-used as part of treatment for osteoporosis. Certain prescription medications called phosphates like Forteo, Fosamax, Boniva, Reclast, or Prolia may also be prescribed as a preventative measure against bone loss. In some cases, physical therapy and regular weight-bearing exercise can help to strengthen bones, maintain muscle tone and joint health, and even reduce or prevent further bone loss.
Like so many other health conditions, the best treatment for osteoporosis can be prevention. Practicing certain healthy lifestyle habits like taking the recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D, getting regular daily exercise, and avoiding smoking can slow down the progression of osteoporosis or even help prevent it before it occurs. For more information or to request an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould or physician assistant Nikki McCann, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for additional tips, news, and updates on our upcoming health and wellness events.