Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis for two main reasons: Women have smaller and thinner bones, and estrogen, a hormone that protects bones, drops significantly around menopause. In fact, a woman can lose up to 20 percent of her bone density in the five to seven years following menopause.
Several risk factors have been identified that can indicate an increased risk for osteoporosis. You may want to discuss a bone densitometry test with your doctor if you have one or more of the following risk factors for osteoporosis:
- Small, thin frame or excessive thinness
- Personal or family history of broken bones as an adult
- Diet low in calcium
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Inactive lifestyle
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Advanced age
- Anorexia nervosa
- Long-term use of certain medications, such as prolonged steroid therapy
Home safety and injury prevention
Osteoporosis or low bone mass makes you more susceptible to injury, specifically broken bones. Here are some tips to keep your home safe and limit your risk for falls:
- Keep all hallways and pathways illuminated.
- Use nightlights.
- Clear clutter from stairways and walkways.
- Remove loose area rugs.
- Make sure all cords are taped down or out of the way.
- Make sure furniture is far enough apart to allow for easy passage.
- Keep a telephone in an easily accessible location.
- Be careful walking around or stepping over pets.
Here are some reminders to limit excess strain on the body:
- Avoid forward bending, lifting and twisting, especially from a seated position.
- Avoid shoveling, vacuuming, sweeping and gardening.
- Avoid strenuous exercise on machines such as a rowing machine, cross-country ski machine, bikes with reciprocal arm movements and the biceps weight machine.
- If you must lift or carry heavy objects, use proper posture to prevent excess stress on the spine.
Novant Health UVA Health System can help
Our programs can help prevent or manage osteoporosis, including:
- Bone mass screenings
- Physical therapy
- Fitness and wellness programs
- Some of the most advanced treatments for osteoporosis and all other musculoskeletal conditions