250417 Osteoporosis: Questions and answers about bone health
Osteoporosis, a disease of the bones, causes a loss of structural integrity. Simply put, your bones get weaker and weaker by becoming brittle, more porous, and prone to fracture.
Controlling bone loss begins early on in life with good nutrition and exercise. Using weight bearing exercises and adding strength training to your daily activity loads the bones. This makes them adapt and become stronger. Absorbing enough calcium and vitamin D throughout your life is another preventive measure.
Limiting alcohol consumption and cutting out smoking will contribute to your bone health. Certain medications stop or slow down the deterioration within the bones. One potential benefit of being overweight is that it loads the bones and makes them compensate by becoming stronger. It is a commonly known fact that fat tissue produces estrogen. This hormone has an important part in the development and upkeep in the bone mineral density of the skeletal bones.
Women are well aware of the part estrogen plays in keeping their bones healthy. Once menopause arrives, their estrogen production slows to a near stop. This leaves the bones susceptible to osteopenia [ 1] or osteoporosis. However, being overweight is not the answer to better bone health as obesity carries major debilitating health risks such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke…the list is nearly endless. If you are overweight, then start now and take steps to get rid of the excess fat.
Thinner, to a point, is healthier. If you have been at or under 127 pounds most of your life you probably have a lower bone mineral density. This can predispose you for osteoporosis later on in life because your bones have not had to adapt to a heavy load, which will make them stronger.
In this case adding a special emphasis on load bearing exercise such as running, jogging, skipping rope, weight lifting, or walking will be to your benefit. In the case of a thin or smaller sized woman, if you have had fractures in the past and are now entering menopause now would be a good time to get a baseline bone density screening.