Overview of bone mass risk in older women
Older women with low bone mineral density (BMD) have a decreased incidence of breast cancer. It is not known whether this association is confined to early-stage, slow-growing tumours.
Prospectively studied 8905 women who were 65 years of age or older during the period from 1986 through 1988 and had no history of breast cancer. At study entry, we used single-photon absorptiometry to measure each woman’s BMD at three skeletal sites: the wrist, forearm, and heel. The women were followed for a mean of 6.5 years for the occurrence of breast cancer. All statistical tests were two-sided.
There are several reasons why women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, including:
- Women tend to have lesser and solvent bones than men.
- Estrogen, a women’s hormone that protects bones, drops dramatically when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. That is why the accidental of developing osteoporosis increases as women spread menopause.
Although several risk factors affect the risk of fragility fractures, low bone density, mass, and strength contribute to an increased risk of fracture in the event of a fall. In the prevention of fractures, it is essential to improve both bone health and physical performance.
Bone mineral density among men and women aged 35 to 50 years
- Context: Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and is believed to be only a major health problem for postmenopausal women. However, osteoporosis and its risk factors have been poorly studied in the male and middle-aged populations.
- Objective: To assess the probability of low BMD and its association with related risk factors in early middle-aged men and women (defined in this study as 35-50 years).
- Methods: Men and women completed a questionnaire assessing calcium intake, hours per week of exercise, and other related risk factors associated with osteoporosis and osteopenia. The primary outcome variable, BMD, was obtained by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans taken at the femoral neck, trochanter, intertrochanteric ridge, total femur, and lumbar spine.
Osteoporosis: not just for older women
Women who have been through menopause indeed have a higher risk of osteoporosis, which is a decrease in bone density. But everyone’s bones naturally weaken with age.
Our bodies constantly substitute old bone tissue with new bone tissue. As we age, this rebuilding process takes longer. In fact, your bone density peaks around age 30. After that, you start to lose bone mass. Anything that promotes bone loss or prevents new bone formation can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
In addition to age and gender, family history and having a small, slim body are major risk factors. Also, unhealthy habits can play a role. If you smoke or drink a lot, are sedentary, or if your diet lacks calcium and vitamin D, your risk of osteoporosis will be higher. Some medical conditions and medications can also affect bone health. Among the most common are:
- Prednisone and other corticosteroids. They are often prescribed for people with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions because they fight inflammation. But taking them for a long period increases the risk of bone loss.
- Anti-seizure drugs. People with epilepsy may be at higher risk because commonly used anti-seizure medications have been shown to alter the way vitamin D is used in the body, affecting the strength of bones. Also, a seizure itself can result in a fall or other accident that could cause a fracture.
- Low levels of testosterone and estrogen. Anything that reduces estrogen (in women) or testosterone (in men) has an effect on the bones. This may be due to long-term use of strong pain relievers, cancer treatment, surgery or trauma to the testicles in men or the ovaries in women, elevated levels of sports activity, or genetic factors such as early menopause in women.
- Other chronic diseases or conditions. Circumstances such as diabetes, untreated hyperthyroidism, extreme levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and kidney or liver disease can affect nutrient and vitamin D levels, and increase bone loss or decrease bone formation.
The loss of bone density related to any of these conditions makes you more vulnerable to bone fractures, especially as you age. If you are at higher risk, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your bone health. The sooner you take steps to protect your bones, the better your chances of avoiding a fracture.