Dr Ravichandra Kelkar, Consultant – Orthopedics, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal
Women go through many physical, emotional and mental changes in their lifetime. Over a lifespan, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of hormonal and nutritional fluctuations. As women continue to age, there are many factors that she should be more careful and cautious about. Osteoporosis is one such condition which affects most women in the later stage of her life. As per research, every 3 out of 5 women are prone to osteoporosis whereas every 1 out of 5 men are prone to the same condition. Why are women more prone to osteoporosis than men?
Like previously said, women’s bodies undergo many natural changes from puberty to menopause. When a woman crosses the age of 50, her body experiences bone loss due to smaller, thinner, less dense bones. In addition to this after menopause, a woman’s body produces less estrogen and progesterone, the hormones which help to keep the bones strong. During menopause women are highly susceptible to osteoporosis.
This osteoporosis can be prevented with an active and healthy lifestyle. Irrespective of gender, all adults in the age group of 35 and above should take necessary steps to strengthen their bones. It is time to rethink the lifestyle and habits and take necessary precautions.
- Quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption. These intoxicants decrease the level of estrogen in your body, making the bone more fragile and prone to fracture. Therefore, it is advised to quit smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Include Vitamin D and calcium based food in your diet, like green leaves, milk, curd, cheese, Ghee, paneer, cereals, tofu, salmon and sardine fish, orange juices, egg yolks, flaxseeds, soyabean.
- Exercise for at least 30mins everyday. Ensure you practice physical activities like jogging, walking, dancing, yoga etc. This will help you in strengthening the muscles.
- Minimize stress. When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol, a stress hormone and this is not good for bone health. Prolonged stress can increase the cortisol levels in the body which can lead to inflammation in the body.
- Get your vitamin levels checked regularly as this is a major indicator of health issues after a person crosses the age group of 45. This check predominantly plays a vital role after menopause among women.
The effect of osteoporosis is beyond gender and lifestyle habits. Just like early menopause, the other factors which can lead to osteoporosis are prolonged usage of steroids, vitamin D deficiency, genetic issues, cancer related drugs etc.
Youngsters are also susceptible to osteoporosis due to their sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activities. PCOS, PCOD, anorexia and bulimia are the other conditions which can lead to osteoporosis among young people. Osteoporosis can also be noticed among athletes due to high activity levels and heavy strain on bones.
Lifestyle change is one of the major factors which can help in preventing or overcoming osteoporosis. It is vital to monitor our bone health and take necessary actions to have a healthy bone.