Am I doomed, now that I’ve turned 37? All these things, coming up – like wrinkles, extra kilos and tiredness.
And lack of that precious time for myself, because I have two small kids that take all of it. So before I had time to walk, go to the gym, swim and now it’s from office to home and to bed.
If it’s not the diabetes or hypertension that will hit us, it will be osteoporosis. How many women have heard of osteoporosis and how many women are actually doing something about it? Don’t we consider it a disease for old people? Will it affect me?
The older we are, the scarier it gets. The more years we have, the more chance there is to get osteoporosis, especially after menopause. Osteoporosis is a state where your bones start losing their density, meaning that they become more fragile. Often, it’s totally asymptomatic and there is no pain involved, before the first bone breaks. It is a silent enemy that crawls progressively and over time affecting the most active bones in our body – yes, those that we move on a daily basis. The good news, however is, that there is something you can do about it and you can prevent it.
Around 80% of the osteoporosis cases are usually women. It’s because we women have thinner and smaller bones then men. Every fourth person with osteoporosis is a woman; however according to statistics, men have more osteoporosis related complications than women. Also, estrogen levels decrease rapidly as women age and especially after menopause.
Estrogen regulates your menstrual cycle, stimulates growth of breast sand affects the reproductive system. If there is an imbalance – like with anything in life – there will be problems.
This is actually the main cause for osteoporosis, a hormonal imbalance.
Estrogen preserves our bones and their strength and prevents bone loss. So where can we get this magical stuff?
Significant sources of estrogen are soybeans, flaxseeds, edamame beans, garlic and sesame seeds, peaches and other dried fruits, berries and tofu. Well – that’s a healthy ingredient list for at least a month! Change those candies to berries and to dried prunes, dates and apricots! Forget the potato chips, instead get some tofu-snacks! Spice up your life with that extra garlic! And now that we talk about beneficial foods to prevent osteoporosis don’t forget calcium and some vitamin D or just those 15 minutes in the sun. Grab a handful of almonds and have a piece of cheese, forget the fizzy drink and have a glass of that fresh nutritious milk! But leave the third coffee cup; coffee hinders absorption of that precious calcium that you need.
It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself. But hey, these are things you can do when you are a younf woman – you don’t have to wait for your menopause!
What is interesting in osteoporosis is that it affects different women in a different way; if you are Caucasian, Asian, African American or Latino you have a differen chance getting it – the 20% figure for caucasian women is twice that of African Americans. It is explained by higher bone mineral density sun exposure.Their concentration of parathyroid hormone is also much higher, which again means that hey lose less bone density during their life.
What also helps enormously to prevent osteoporosis and to maintain that high bone density is movement. Moving your butt not to the car seat but away from the sofa and into nature. Any walking, jogging, climbing or dancing is great. Zumba, body pump, spinning, cycling – you name it! For gym lovers there are great news too – one of the most effective ways to prevent osteoporosis is strength-exercises, pushups, bench-press, deadlifts, sit-ups and sit-downs, whatever really makes you happy as long as there is some extra weight.
This way you can truly prevent and treat osteoporosis. It’s never too late and you can always start from zero. It is not easy and it is scary (because you feel fragile) if you already have osteopenia, which is a step away from osteoporosis. But it is something you must do! You can start progressively with flexibility and stability exercises. These kinds of exercises will also help you to prevent falling, which in turn will lead to breaking bones. Stretching and static-exercises are really great to start with; swimming is a good low-impact sport that can be practiced too; however, as it is an activity that is practiced in hyper-gravity (floating) it doesn’t put enough stress on the bones. This is one of the best ways to have some activity for those that already have severe osteoporosis and can’t do other sports because of the pain.
Some sports are not recommended for those that already have osteoporosis or osteopenia. Forget such high-impact sports life golf, skiing, bowling, tennis anything where you bend and twist your bones.
Remember, however athletic you are, it is not a safe-ticket to not having osteoporosis. Unfortunately however healthy you are, you can still get it, at least you can live a happier and longer pain-free life. We women do live longer than men, for several reasons and one of those is that we take care of ourselves more than they do.
To sum up it all: stay active, don’t smoke, and don’t overdrink (of course you can have that glass of wine!) eat well (it’s the quality, not the quantity) and enjoy the sun – in moderation!.