Wellness Wednesday: This One Goes Out to All The Ladies

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March is International Womens’ Month. So it makes sense to me to take the opportunity to highlight a specific women’s health issue: osteoporosis. The word ‘osteoporosis’ comes from the ancient Greek words for ‘bone’, ‘pore/ passage’ and ‘abnormal condition/ action’, which accurately describes this condition where normally dense, healthy bone becomes porous and brittle. Once thought a disease of the old and unwell, it is now known that 1 in 2 US women will break a bone in their lifetime due to an osteoporotic issue- a rate that is over double the incidence in men for the same kind of injury. There is more than one reason why women are thought to be more susceptible to osteoporosis than men. First, women’s bones tend to be smaller and thinner than men’s. Second, levels of estrogen ( a hormone that protects bone density) sharply drops off after menopause, leading to increased risk of breakage.

 

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Despite these factors, there are things that you can do as a women to protect yourself against osteoporosis. These include getting enough Vitamin D and Calcium, from foods like sardines, salmon, fortified dairy products, beans, lentils and almonds. You can also decrease your risk by staying active through exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, like strength training, as the stresses involved stimulate the deposit of new, stronger bone on the area where the force is being placed. It is generally recommended that women over the age of 65 have their bone density tested. For more information on osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation at https://www.nof.org/.