Many women know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding chronic diseases. But regular exercise and healthy habits are just as important when it comes to strong bones.
Bones are constantly turning over
As soon as women pass their 20s, their bone density starts to decrease, explains Molly Tatum, DO, orthopedic surgeon with Orthopaedic Institute of Dayton. “Women are much more likely than men to develop osteoporosis,” says Dr. Tatum, “but there are ways for women to help prevent bone loss.”
Dr. Tatum recommends that women make sure they are getting an appropriate intake of calcium and vitamin D and are consistently performing weightbearing exercises. “Anything like walking, running, or strength training is considered a weightbearing exercise,” says Dr. Tatum. “Our bones are constantly turning over, so the more appropriate stress we can add to them, the better your bone density will be.”
Bones are living things: our bodies have bone building cells and bone cells that break down. As we age, explains Dr. Tatum, the cells that break down bone work faster, which makes bones more brittle and porous over time.
What is your bone loss risk?
Some women are more at risk for bone density issues than others. The presence of “the female athlete triad” puts younger women at higher risk for bone loss. The female athlete triad refers to women who have a history of stress fractures, irregular periods, and disordered eating. In these women especially, consulting with a physician about calcium and vitamin D levels and possible supplementation is extremely important.
At the other end of the spectrum, women over the age of 65 should get bone density scans every 2-3 years. Experts recommend that these scans begin earlier if the woman has a history of fractures or other injuries. “It’s really important to do what we can to prevent major fractures,” says Dr. Tatum. “Mortality within a year after a hip fracture is as high as 20-30%.” Many women are unaware that they have osteoporosis until they experience a fracture, which further underscores the need for regular bone density scans.
Bone health is too important to put on hold. Talk to your doctor today about the steps you can take toward better bone health.
Kettering Health Network orthopedic services provide comprehensive care to help you live and maintain a healthy and active life. To learn more, call 1-844-228-6683 (MOVE).