Baby boomers may not like it but The Boom is rolling its way into osteoporosis territory, and it may not be happening only to the older boomers. Osteoporosis is a loss of bone mass that can begin anytime after the age of thirty.
Bone at its peak is being broken down and built back up again on a regular basis. When the bone being broken down is no longer being replaced to its fullest extent, bones lose density and can become fragile and may be easily broken.
Dr. Andrew Weil on his website outlined the scenario that women of the baby boom are now or will be facing. All women who have reached menopause (a substantial segment of baby boom women) may be subject to bone loss, especially if they are not using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which includes estrogen.
Without HRT, estrogen levels decline and so does bone mass. Weil said that women will lose bone mass at a rapid rate for approximately five years while in menopause and afterward.
This can create a loss of up to 4 percent of a woman's total bone mass. Osteoporosis affects approximately one in three women who are postmenopausal.
Low levels of calcium in the diet or through supplementation can affect bone mineralization (bone density). Dairy products have traditionally been thought of as the best source of calcium but other foods are good sources as well.
Weil recommended dark green vegetables, for instance bok choy and broccoli. He encouraged the addition of canned sardines and tofu, as well as juices or soy milk that has been fortified with calcium.
That extra calcium will be better absorbed if you make sure you're getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D can be taken in milk or cereals that have been fortified with it. It can also be gotten through supplements or through exposure to sun.
Baby boomers who regularly walk, jog or practice weight training are protecting their bone density. The more active they are, the better their bones will like it.
Too much salt, coffee or alcohol along with smoking are all bad for your bone density. Weil advised against high animal protein in the diet, as well as against a high acid-ash diet which majors in animal protein and grains and minors in produce.
These can all lead to more bone loss. Some medications like anticonvulsants and steroids can also reduce bone mass.
Weil recommended a test for measuring your bone density which is the Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). The DEXA has a computer scan the hip and spine. While other screening methods are available, this one is the most effective according to Weil.
What Is Postmenopausal Osteoporosis?
Reviewed December 6, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN