The risk of osteoporosis is highest among women over the age of 50 and those who’re post-menopausal. Early detection of osteoporosis is vital so that treatment can be administered to reduce the risk of breaks and fractures. A new study suggests that women 65 and older should also be getting screened for osteoporosis.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force member Chien-Wen Tseng explained, “Without screening, most women won’t know that they have osteoporosis until they have a fracture. Screening and treatment can help prevent these fractures. Based on the evidence, we recommend screening for women over the age of 65 and younger women who have been through menopause and are at increased risk for osteoporosis.”
The researchers are unclear whether men should get screened to prevent bone fractures.
Why Do Women Develop Osteoporosis More Than Men?
Osteoporosis affects women more than men, but why? Women make up nearly 80 percent of the 10 million Americans who have osteoporosis. Roughly one in two women over the age of 50 will experience a bone fracture. There are several reasons for higher prevalence of osteoporosis among women. To name a few, female bones tend to be thinner and the levels of the hormone estrogen (known to protect bones) drop significantly after menopause.
Aside from a drop in estrogen, there are other factors that play a role in a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis. For starters, the amount of bone a woman has by the time she reaches menopause plays a role, along with the rate of bone loss that occurs after menopause – for some women, this can be a slow process, while others lose bone quickly.
For some women, it is beneficial to undergo hormone replacement therapy, which not only aids in menopause symptoms but can also offer greater protection against bone loss, resulting from the declining levels of estrogen.
Even though you may think being a woman automatically signs you up to develop osteoporosis, this is not always the case. There are strategies to help lower your risk of osteoporosis, which includes eating a calcium-rich diet, getting adequate vitamin D, exercising regularly, minimizing your caffeine and alcohol intake, and not smoking. Furthermore, ensure you are getting screened to determine the health of your bones.