World Menopause Awareness Day is observed every year on October 18 to help raise awareness of the impact menopause can have on a woman’s everyday life. This year’s theme is bone health. As women reach menopause, they’re more susceptible to things like broken bones, fractures and osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones) because of decreasing estrogen levels. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, postmenopausal women experience bone loss between 1.3-1.5% at the lumbar (lower) spine and 1.4% at the femoral neck (upper portion of the femur or thighbone) each year.
Five ways to protect your bone health during and after menopause
Approximately 1 in 2 postmenopausal women over age 50 will experience a broken bone because of bone loss. Here are five ways you can protect and strengthen your bones as you age:
- Take a daily supplement
Take a daily vitamin D and calcium supplement to ensure your body has what it needs to stay healthy. Bones are like reservoirs of calcium for the rest of the body, and as the body ages, it will take this calcium to supplement a deficiency in other areas if needed.
- Eat a well-balanced diet
Fill your plate with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to help maintain the blood’s pH balance, which is important for keeping bones strong. Increased acidity in the blood enhances the activity of osteoclasts, large cells that are responsible for the dissolution and absorption of bone.
- Engage in regular exercise
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, jogging or climbing stairs as well as resistance exercises, like lifting weights, are the best things you can do to help strengthen your bones.
- Stop smoking
The nicotine in cigarettes slows down the production of bone-producing cells and decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which leads to a reduction in bone density over time.
- Limit alcohol intake
Chronic, heavy alcohol consumption compromises bone health and increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Common symptoms of menopause
While bone health is a major health concern for women between the ages of 45 and 55, there is much more to consider. Menopause Awareness Day encompasses everything a woman experiences before, during and after menopause. If you have any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, ask your doctor about possible treatment options:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Low libido
- Night sweats
- Pain during intercourse
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty remembering
Your doctor may recommend things like estrogen creams, lubricants or moisturizers to help alleviate some of the most uncomfortable symptoms, like vaginal dryness. They may also refer you to a menopausal specialist for further guidance if symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.
The Premier Family Medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers provide expert care for women’s health issues during every stage of their lives—from adolescence to menopause and beyond. Call us at 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment today.