Osteoporosis and Menopause

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Mickie Griffith-Autry, PhD, NP-C

Mickie Griffith-Autry Article

 

Osteoporosis simply put is weakening of the bone. When the strength of bones is compromised the menopausal woman faces serious health threats. It is estimated that 15-18% of American women age 50 have osteoporosis of the hip. Women age 80 and older are at a 52% chance of having osteoporosis.

As the bone weakens the chance of sustaining a hip fracture increases significantly. Hip fractures in the aging woman increase mortality by 25%, approximately 25% of these women require long -term care, and 50% have some long term loss in their mobiity.

Other than menopause, primary and secondary risk factors for the development of osteoporosis have been identified. These factors are listed below:

Advancing age

Previous fracture history

Genetics

Low weight

Tobacco abuse

Alcohol intake of more than 2 per day

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

While obtaining a baseline bone density test is valuable. It is imperative that menopausal women modify their lifestyle factors in an attempt to increase their bone strength. Several lifestyle factors have been identified to assist in the promotion of bone strength. These include maintaining a balanced diet and assure adequate intake of calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and isoflavones. Weight bearing and strength training exercises are beneficial to bone development and maintenance. Implementing fall prevention strategies such as maintaining adequate lighting, removal of obstructions, and removal of rugs may help to prevent a devastating fall. Stopping smoking and limiting alcohol intake to less than 2 drinks per day will go a long way in preventing bone weakness.

Osteoporosis is a silent condition with no warning signs. Very frequently the first indication of the disease is a fracture itself. Marked height loss over years may be a sign of underlying vertebral compression fracture in advanced stages of osteoporosis.

It is imperative that menopausal women become knowledgeable of disease risk and take proactive steps to deter these debilitating conditions. Once this knowledge is obtained, seek a health care provider who is willing to assist you in maintaining a healthy, active, happy quality of life.

 

 

Ms. Autry earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Jacksonville State University, her Masters of Science degree in nursing from the University of Alabama Huntsville, and her PhD from Walden University. Her research dissertation was entitled Pelvic muscle strengthening: Impact on sexual functioning in the menopausal woman. Ms. Autry is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nursing Credentialing Center, and the Certification Board for Urological Nurses and Associates. She has completed multiple postgraduate preceptor programs in female sexual medicine, pelvic pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Ms. Autry is an active member of the Society of Urological Nurse Associates, North American Menopause Society, American Urological Society, and the International Pelvic Pain Society and founder of two women's health support groups. She is a national and local speaker for multiple pharmaceutical and medical companies, has participated in clinical trial studies, and has published articles in the Society of Urological Nurse Associate and North American Menopause Society journals.

 

Mickie Griffith-Autry, PhD, NP-C

 

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