Osteoporosis: Who is at Risk?

MrGhaz By MrGhaz, 18th Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Women's Health

Women have a far greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis. They have less bone mass to begin with, and with the menopause they lose the hormone oestrogen, which slows bone loss. While postmenopausal women are most at risk, some younger women – marathon runners, gymnasts, dancers and anorexics, for example – can also suffer from osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis: Who is at Risk?

There is mounting evidence to suggest that eating more calcium-rich foods, particularly during childhood and adolescence, is the most effective way of preventing, or at least minimizing the extent of, osteoporosis. In this condition, which most commonly affects middle-aged and elderly women, the bones become weak and brittle, so that sufferers are more vulnerable to fractures, even after minor accidents. The areas most at risk are the hips, wrists and the spine. Other symptoms may include pain in the hips and back, loss of height and sometimes a stooped posture – as the bones of the spinal become weak and compressed.

Throughout life, our bones are continuously being replaced. Cells called osteoclasts eat away at the existing bone, thereby releasing calcium into the bloodstream. At the same time, cells called osteoclasts form the new bone and deposit calcium into it. In young and healthy people, there is equal activity between the two types of cell, with the result that bone mass and structure are maintained. With age, however we lose more calcium from our bones than is put back, and our bones lose density.

Women have a far greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis. They have less bone mass to begin with, and with the menopause they lose the hormone oestrogen, which slows bone loss. While postmenopausal women are most at risk, some younger women – marathon runners, gymnasts, dancers and anorexics, for example – can also suffer from osteoporosis. What they all have in common is a very low amount of body fat, irregular or non-existent menstrual periods, and low oestrogen levels. A low body weight increases the risk of osteoporosis because it puts less stress on bones, and stress increases bone density. Body fat also promotes oestrogen production.

Thinking Ahead

Because the dietary levels of calcium during adolescence are of particular importance for maximum bone density and strength in adulthood, it is only sensible for parents to encourage their teenagers to include plenty of calcium-rich foods in their diet, such as milk and green leafy vegetables.

Tags

Health, Health Care, Womens Health, Womens Issues

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author avatar MrGhaz
48 year old guy from Malaysia, I'm a prolific researcher and writer of interesting pages on the net..

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author avatar vpaulose
19th Sep 2012 (#)

Thank you for this nice post.

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