Should you be concerned about your bone health in perimenopause?
Once a woman reaches perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause), her hormone levels start to change. Some of these hormones effect how the body uses calcium, one of the main building blocks of healthy bone. If it is not absorbed fully, however, it can lead to a weakening of the bone.
There are 2 degrees of weakening, osteopenia and osteoporosis. Osteopenia means ‘bone poverty’ or thinning. Osteoporosis means porous bones, that is, bones with holes in them in the same way as a sponge could be described as porous.
Many women worry about the state of their bone health once they hit menopause, but you really want to be taking care of your bones in the years before perimenopause and menopause.
Unfortunately, some assume their bones will remain solid and unchanging, but the truth is our bones are constantly breaking down and building back up. Imagine a wall constructed with 100 bricks tightly and securely held together, that is, what it means to have good bone mineral density (BMD).
Now imagine that same wall built with only 90 or 80 bricks. That would be osteopenia. Next, picture the same wall with only 70 or 60 bricks. That would be osteoporosis. There will be a lot of spaces and it will not be as strong as the solid wall, that is, have good density. This means the bone is at more risk for fractures if a person is injured or falls.
If you’ve ever heard of a person falling and breaking their hip, this will often be due to osteoporosis. In some cases, it might be the hip breaking that then leads to the fall. Once you have an osteoporosis-related fracture, you’re at higher risk of having another. A broken hip can lead to months of rehab, and the health risks that accompany this can increase your chances of getting pneumonia and blood clots in the legs.
While we may not know the exact causes of osteoporosis, we know it is much more common in women than in men and usually starts around the time of perimenopause and menopause. We also know it is more common among small-framed white and Asian women. It tends to run in families, and might also be triggered by certain medications. An unbalanced diet and lack of exercise might also lead to bone health issues.
We also know there are steps you can take naturally to reduce your risk of fracture. These include:
Getting your BMD tested
It is simple and painless, and can give you a good idea of what action steps you need to take to keep your bones healthy.
Taking steps, literally
Walking 10,000 steps a day and other weight-bearing exercise can help keep bones healthy.
Eating a diet rich in bone building minerals
You need more than calcium to build healthy bones. You also need magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2. All are necessary for building-blocks of healthy bone. All of these building blocks can be found through food sources.
Get your Vitamin D level checked
Most people have low Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium. And guess what? Yes, their are food sources and getting some time in the sun. Vitamin D is a hormone produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight. Fifteen minutes per day outdoors should be enough to give you all you need.
There is a good chance that you will want to add a Vitamin D supplement into your daily routine as well. In spite of taking all the right steps, you could still be low in Vitamin D.
Stay mobile with weight-bearing exercises to help preserve your bone density. Exercises which use your body weight, such as:
- Tai chi
If you are ready to take a more active role in your hormone health, schedule a free Hormone Relief Discovery Call to learn how the Path to Hormone Health Group Program can help.