19 May 2016
5 Signs That You May Have Osteoporosis
Falling estrogen and testosterone levels during perimenopause and menopause can speed up bone loss dramatically. This contributes to osteopenia (the beginnings of osteoporosis) and osteoporosis (thin, porous bones). There are many risk factors for osteoporosis which include family history, medications and lifestyle.
But, how do we know whether our bones are healthy or not? We can’t see them like we can see our skin, or listen to them like the heart or lungs. Bone density scans are one way to look inside bone, but bone density tests are rarely recommended until after menopause unless you have risk factors. Osteoporosis may be developing long before that.
If you’re paying attention, Mother Nature may give you some clues about what’s going on. Here’s what to look for:
1. Receding gums. Our teeth are connected to the jaw bone and if the jaw is losing bone, gums can recede. Standard x-rays at the dentist will identify this.
2. Weak, brittle fingernails. Nail condition often improves once bone health is supported with the right supplements and diet. But be aware that weak nails can also be caused by many other things (like thyroid problems, having your hands in water frequently or exposure to chemicals) so keep this in mind.
3. Cramps, muscle aches and bone pain. Most of us chalk these things up to old age, but these may indicate that your bones need a little love. Vitamin D deficiency is nearly epidemic now and research has shown that this contributes to muscle aches.
Cramping can indicate low levels of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Over time, these deficiencies can lead to bone loss. Getting leg cramps at night? Take your calcium/magnesium supplement at bedtime. It’s calming, so it will help you sleep in addition to helping mid-night cramps.
4. You’re losing height. Height loss may be caused by weak spinal muscles and poor posture, but it may also indicate silent vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis.
5. You’re out of shape. Bone mass is maintained by doing weight bearing exercise (walking, yoga, running, lifting weights). This is one of THE best ways to maintain your bones. Low overall fitness increases the likelihood that your bone mass will decrease over time. Research is showing that sitting is as harmful to you as smoking. The good news is that even if you’re a couch potato now you can turn it around if you get up and get moving.
Want to stay out of the nursing home? Falls resulting in hip fracture are the number one reason for admission to nursing facilities. Take care of your bones…starting now. Strong bones mean you’ll have the ability to be active and flexible into your older years.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Find out more about working with her at https://www.drannagarrett.com/work-with-me/.