How are menopause and osteoporosis connected?
During menopause, many of us are familiar with symptoms such as mood changes, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and migraines. These symptoms are related to changes in hormone levels in the body. During menopause, women will experience a decrease in estrogen levels.
Estrogen has a protective effect on bone. Estrogen promotes activity of osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are cells that produce bone. Osteoclasts, on the other hand, are cells that absorb bone tissue during the healing process. During menopause, osteoblast activity decreases as a result of low estrogen levels. As a result, laying down of new bone decreases, but absorption of bone continues. Consequently, this results in less bone production and development of osteoporosis.
By definition, osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become fragile and brittle. As bones become more fragile, they are more susceptible to fractures. Your provider may want to monitor your bone strength, or density, if they suspect you may be at risk for osteoporosis.
Bone Density Tests
Bone density scans are used to assess the strength of a bone. The scan performs a low dose x-ray to look at how dense, or strong, your bones are . The results of the test will be displayed as T scores or Z scores.
Z score Interpretation
+1-2 Bone density is higher than in those of same age, sex, and body size
0 Bone density is same as those of same age, sex, and body size
-1 Bone density is lower than those of same age, sex, and body size
-2 Scores higher than this are considered to be normal
-2.5 This score or lower indicated secondary osteopenia
How can I improve my bone health on my own without medications?
Avoid low calorie diets
Eat more protein
Omega 3 fatty acids
Magnesium and zinc supplements
Limit alcohol intake
Weight-bearing exercises, resistance training
Medical management of osteoporosis
Hormone replacement therapy
Bone building medications