As estrogen hormone levels sharply diminish during menopause, bone loss can occur. Although the earliest stage of bone loss does not present signs and symptoms, bone loss can progress rapidly in some women, resulting in osteoporosis. As soon as signs of bone loss are noticed, it is important to consult with a physician so that diagnostic testing and treatment may be pursued to lessen the severity of bone loss and the effects of osteoporosis.
The vertebral column is essential in supporting the length of the torso and in maintaining an erect and even posture. When standing in front of a full-length mirror, a woman with bone loss will likely notice any of the following changes in her posture:
• Hunched or stooped appearance
• Sloped shoulders
• Protruding abdomen
• Curved spine
A dentist is often one of the first individuals in the medical community to detect bone loss and osteoporosis in menopausal women. Gingivitis, or gum disease, can progress to bone loss. Dental radiographs reveal bone loss in the jaw and around the root of each tooth. According to a specialist from Franklin Dental Centre, as this bone loss occurs, tooth loss follows because teeth no longer have enough bone to anchor into. Those who wear dentures may notice that their dentures no longer fit as securely as they initially did.
A decrease in height indicates that the vertebrae are collapsing, which can also present with the symptom of back pain. Fractures that occur when least expected signal a red flag that should prompt an evaluation of overall bone density.
If any of the aforementioned signs are noticed, then bone loss has already begun. This should not be ignored. Failure to address bone loss will result in fractures, some of which may result in lifelong impairment. Fractures are not limited to victims of falls. They can be incurred through simple day-to-day tasks, such as lifting a heavy laundry basket, bending awkwardly to reach something or slipping on one step while climbing the stairs. Fractures that occur in the hip, vertebrae or wrist may not heal as effectively during and after menopause as they would in a young adult. This can severely inhibit one’s ability to live an independent lifestyle, which results in emotional stress as well as physical impairment.
Take Charge of Menopause
Physicians now routinely recommend bone density screening for menopausal patients. These imaging tests will evaluate bone density and determine the best options for treatment and supplementation. By bringing signs of bone loss to your medical practitioner’s attention, you can work together to ward off debilitating fractures so your golden years remain comfortable and enjoyable.
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