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Menopause has been linked to increased risk of osteoporosis. Research indicates that up to 20% of bone loss can happen during menopause and post-menopausal stages. One in 10 women worldwide are affected by osteoporosis.
1 in 2 post-menopausal women will have osteoporosis and most will suffer a fracture during their lifetime. It is never too late to be treated for osteoporosis, and in fact, older women are more likely to respond better to treatment if given early. The goal of your treatment plan is to decrease fractures associated with osteoporosis and maintain good bone health.
Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease” because you may not notice any changes until a bone breaks. All the while, though, your bones had been losing strength for many years. Bone is living tissue. To keep bones strong, your body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone tissue. Sometime around age 30, bone mass stops increasing, and the goal for bone health is to keep as much bone as possible for as long as you can. As people enter their 40s and 50s, more bone may be broken down than is replaced.

As hormones change to accommodate normal menopausal changes, estrogen levels start to fluctuate and eventually drop.  Since estrogen helps prevent bones from getting weaker by slowing the natural breakdown of bone, its reduction speeds up bone loss. 

Estradiol is one of the estrogen hormones naturally produced by the body.  During menopause the ovaries no long produce estradiol.  This change often causes mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats. 

Vitamin D and calcium are other hormones that play a part in bone health.  Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium.  Calcium is necessary for building strong, healthy bones.  Without vitamin D and calcium, bones may not form properly in childhood and can lose mass, become weak, and break easily in adulthood. Even if you get enough calcium in your diet, your body will not absorb the calcium if you do not get enough vitamin D.

There are things you should do at any age to prevent weakened bones. Eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D is important. So is regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women can help prevent bone loss caused by the decreased levels of estrogen that occurs during perimenopause and menopause.  HRT may play a role in treating other symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Talk to your physician today to see what your best options are.  

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