At Portobello Phyiso, we are constantly inspired by the resilience and strength of the women we work with. While osteoporosis is a common concern, we are always heartened by the fact that there are many effective prevention and treatment strategies available. By taking a proactive approach to bone health, women of all ages can feel confident and empowered in their bodies.
Osteoporosis is a more prevalent condition than one might realise, with approximately one in four men and one in two women over the age of 50 experiencing a bone fracture due to this condition. Osteoporosis is a condition that can have a significant impact on women’s health, particularly as they age. Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis due to factors such as hormonal changes during menopause, decreased physical activity, and a lack of essential nutrients in their diet. Weak and brittle bones can lead to fractures, which can greatly impact a woman’s quality of life and independence.
At Portobello Physio, we understand the importance of strong bones for women’s health, and we’re here to help you take control of your bone health. In this post, we’ll explore the risks of osteoporosis, as well as the latest prevention and treatment strategies for women, recommended by a physiotherapist. So, whether you’re looking to prevent osteoporosis or manage the condition, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!
The Risks of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that can affect both men and women, but it is more common in women. Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, including:
Age: As you get older, your bones naturally become weaker and more susceptible to fractures.
Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.
Family history: If someone in your family has had osteoporosis, you may be more likely to develop it.
Menopause: Women who have gone through menopause are at increased risk of osteoporosis because of the decrease in estrogen levels.
Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle, can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Preventing osteoporosis is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of this condition. By taking proactive steps to care for your bone health, you can help maintain strong bones and reduce your risk of fractures.
Here are some of the key strategies for preventing osteoporosis:
Get enough calcium and vitamin D: These essential nutrients play a crucial role in building and maintaining strong bones. Calcium can be found in dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods, while vitamin D can be obtained through sunlight exposure or supplements. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your specific calcium and vitamin D needs to ensure you’re getting enough.
Exercise regularly: Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, dancing, and strength training, can help build bone density and reduce your risk of fractures. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, and consider working with a physiotherapist to create an exercise program that’s tailored to your needs and abilities.
Quit smoking: Smoking can weaken your bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis. If you’re a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can also weaken your bones and increase your risk of fractures. It’s important to drink in moderation or consider cutting back on alcohol altogether.
Get regular check-ups: Talk to your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis, particularly if you have any risk factors such as a family history of the condition or a history of fractures. Your doctor may recommend a bone density test to assess your bone health, which can help identify any potential issues before they become more serious.
The ISCP has developed an excellent resource that can be extremely beneficial to anyone who is experiencing osteoporosis.
The HSE has provided a resource on Physical Activity and Osteoporosis that may also be of great value.
The ISCP has explained why women are more affected by Bone Loss than Men.
- Women tend to have smaller bones than men.
- Women go through menopause, and some women can lose up to 30% of the overall bone in their bodies during this process.
- If a female’s period started later than age 15, they are at a higher risk for bone loss as their sex hormones were not regular.
- If a female has had PMT (Premenstrual tension) their hormones are not regular, so they are at higher risk of bone loss.
- If a woman has endometriosis, their sex hormones are not regular, and they are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
- If a woman is on the contraceptive Depo Provera, this has been proven to cause bone loss.
- If a woman has a hysterectomy, they are at a much higher risk of bone loss.
Here are some of the ways that physiotherapy can be used to treat osteoporosis:
Exercise prescription: A physiotherapist can work with you to create a personalized exercise program that can help improve bone density, balance, and overall fitness. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing, and strength training can be especially effective for building bone mass.
Falls prevention: Because osteoporosis can increase the risk of fractures, falls prevention is a crucial part of treatment. A physiotherapist can assess your balance and gait, and provide recommendations on how to reduce your risk of falls.
Postural alignment: Poor posture can increase the risk of falls and fractures, and may contribute to osteoporosis progression. A physiotherapist can assess your posture and provide exercises and guidance to improve alignment and reduce strain on your bones and joints.
Pain management: Osteoporosis can cause pain and discomfort, which can impact your quality of life. A physiotherapist can provide manual therapy, such as massage and joint mobilisation, to help manage pain and improve mobility.
Education: A physiotherapist can provide education on how to manage osteoporosis and reduce your risk of complications. This may include guidance on proper lifting techniques, safe exercise modifications, and recommendations on how to maintain bone health.
At Portobello Physio, we take a multidisciplinary approach to osteoporosis treatment, working closely with your doctor to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets your individual needs. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have concerns about your bone health, book an appointment with us today to learn more about how we can help.