Estimates reveal one in four women over the age of 65 have osteoporosis of the hip or spine. Hormones are thought to play a large role in the development and onset of osteoporosis. When women go through menopause, production of estrogen is greatly reduced thus weakening bones. Research now suggests that a growth hormone can greatly reduce the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis in older women.
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition where bones become weaker over time, resulting in an increase of fractures. Researchers examined the role of a growth hormone for its ability to reduce the risk of fractures.
The study was done during an 18 month, double-blind trial with 80 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who received injections. The injections either contained a placebo, a single unit of growth hormones, or a 2.5 unit dose of growth hormones. Women ranged between 50 and 70 years of age.
At the end of the 18-month study, women who received the placebo stopped receiving the injections and women who received the growth hormone continued for another 18 months. Finally, the women were followed-up with seven years after the second set of injections.
Bone density was compared between the placebo group and the growth hormone group. Findings revealed women who received the higher dose of growth hormones also had higher bone density compared to the low-dose group or placebo group. Rate of fractures was also seen to decrease by 50 percent in the high-dose group.
Warning signs that you might develop osteoporosis
If you’re reaching menopause or are even postmenopausal, you should be concerned about your bone health as it can deteriorate fast. Look for these warning signs to indicate that you may develop osteoporosis:
- You’ve had at least one fracture in the last two years, or an unusually severe fracture
- You are naturally thin or small-framed
- You take autoimmune medications, such as Prednisone or other Corticosteroids
- You smoke
- You consume at least two alcoholic drinks per day
- You are lactose intolerant or don’t drink milk
- You’ve battled an eating disorder
- For Women Only: You have an irregular or infrequent menstrual cycle
- You have a family history of osteoporosis
- You are a Caucasian or Asian female over 50
Tips to prevent osteoporosis fractures
If you have osteoporosis, you’ll definitely want to take better care of your bones which means you’ll want to prevent fractures. Although your doctor may put you on a personalized plan to better help prevent osteoporosis fractures, these tips can also be utilized to prevent osteoporosis fractures:
- Medications – many medications have been approved to help prevent osteoporosis fractures. Speak to your doctor if you are interested in starting them.
- Calcium and vitamin D – even if you consume dairy, without adequate vitamin D the calcium simply won’t absorb as well. Ensure you are receiving recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, and speak to your doctor to find out if supplements are the way to go.
- Weight-bearing exercises – exercise is an effective means to strengthen bones and prevent fractures. Activities like jogging, tennis, dancing, hiking and stair climbing puts stress on your bones to make them stronger and more resilient.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol – smoking and alcohol can have detrimental effects on our bones. If you currently smoke, considering stopping. Additionally, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.