The Women's Health Resource Center
Osteoporosis is characterized by thin and brittle bones that result when the bone mass is no longer replaced as it is removed. A gradual loss of bone mass, beginning at about age 35, is a normal occurrence for both men and women. Women usually lose 30% - 50% of their bone density, while men lose about 20% - 30%. It occurs most rapidly in post-menopausal women, who may be unaware of the condition until they fracture a bone.
Osteoporosis is a leading cause of disability and diminished quality of life. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that approximately one in six women will suffer a hip fracture in her lifetime and the Osteoporosis Foundation reports nearly 35,700 deaths each year from complication of hip fractures caused by osteoporosis. It is estimated that only 25% of hip fracture patients make a full recovery while 40% require nursing home admissions following a fracture and 50% are permanently dependent on a cane or walker.
Some factors that may place you at risk for osteoporosis can be controlled, others cannot. As a woman, you are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than a man; your risk increases with age, a diet with inadequate calcium, premature menopause, women who are Caucasian or Asian who have a thin or small build, and a family of history of osteoporosis are factors contributing to the risk of developing osteoporosis.
For more information contact the Women's Health Resource Center at 415-600-0500, the Community Health Resource Center at 415-923-3155 or the Institute for Health and Healing at 415-600-3660.
What you can do…
- Stop smoking and reduce consumption of alcohol, these cause bone loss and increase your risk of a fracture.
- Engage in weight-bearing exercising such as walking, aerobics, running, dancing or climbing stairs.
- Eat foods rich in calcium throughout your life.
- For menopausal women, consider estrogen replacement therapy.
- Schedule a bone mineral test with your health care provider.