I know a lot of women who are taking medication for osteoporosis. Do all women get osteoporosis?
NO. There is a gradual loss of bony tissue, which causes brittle bones that fracture more easily in both men and women as they age. Osteoporosis develops more often in women when calcium is lost (following hormonal change after menopause) or insufficiently taken and absorbed. Deficiency in bone mineral density occurs in 50% of women over 50 years to 57% of women 70 years or older, but decreases to 45% for those over 80 years. Women rarely develop osteoporosis until age 70 years. A test of bone density (Absorptiometry) can measure bone mass by x-ray or computer-analyzed e-ray. Prevention of osteoporosis begins with adequate calcium intake in one's teens and thereafter with increased attention after menopause. Weight-bearing exercise, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), decreased alcohol, protein, salt and caffeine consumption, smoking cessation, and adequate Vitamin D intake may minimize bone loss. HRT may offer some protection against heart disease, cognitive impairment, and bone loss, but also may present risks for cervical cancer. Risks factors of osteoporosis include excess alcohol, little physical activity, deficient calcium intake, no pregnancies, no breast feeding, fair complexion, blond or red hair, and of European nationality.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Monday, July 07, 2008