Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. In particular, women and those over the age of 65 are at a higher risk.
The good news is, there are preventative methods you can take while also being on the lookout for red flags, specifically related to this. Here they are:
Excessive exercise: Women who over-exercise are at risk of something called female athlete triad syndrome which includes low energy and decreased bone mineral density. If you experience irregularity in menstrual periods, consult your doctor.
Being Extremely Thin: Women are qualify as “too skinny” who stop having periods are at risk for Osteoporosis. This is most likely to occur in women with an eating disorder. As a result of not getting enough nutrition, their bones become brittle and this can happen pretty rapidly.
Too Much Alcohol: If you drink more than 1 or even 2 glasses of wine or any other alcohol, your bones may pay the price. Three or more alcoholic drinks per day is bad for your bones.
Couch Potato: Laying around on the couch for an extensive period of time can lead to the breakdown of bones within 24-48 hours. If you lack any activity, you can develop Osteoporosis within months.
Steroids: Treatments specifically for Lupus, allergies, Crohn’s disease or asthma, caution against the meds often prescribed for these. Drug therapies often used to treat those conditions can cause the breakdown of bones in parallel.
Antidepressants: One in four women in the United States take some form of mental health meds. Since women are more likely to develop Osteoporosis, it’s a double whammy. Pay attention to a specific class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. These drugs specifically speed up bone loss and harm bone mineral density according to a review of 19 studies published in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience in 2012.
Also, chronic heartburn, natural height decrease with age or genetic predisposition such as your parents being prone to breaking bones are also specific risks. Consider getting a bone scan as early as 30 to get a sense of your risk. Of course, a healthy lifestyle with nutrition and moderate exercise at the center will only mitigate your risk, especially if you’re a woman.