Factors That Impact the Development and Progression of Osteoporosis
Bone loss in women accelerates after menopause. Women who undergo menopause at an early age have a higher risk of developing the condition than women who go through menopause later in life. Postmenopausal women have the highest risk of osteoporosis when compared to all other groups of people.
Several illnesses may predispose you to bone loss. Crohn’s disease, kidney ailments, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis all increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, while chronic liver disease, advanced alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver hastens the loss of bone.
Additionally, if you have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, you have a very high risk of developing osteoporosis. Being sedentary elevates the likelihood of osteoporosis. Smoking and excessive alcohol use are risk factors for osteoporosis.
Medications may increase the rate of bone loss. Corticosteroids, thyroid replacement medications, and drugs which are used to treat tuberculosis hasten bone loss. Antacids which contain aluminum, heparin, and tetracycline, may negatively impact bone health when used for an extended period of time.
Why Are Women More Likely than Men to Develop Osteoporosis?
There are many factors which make women more prone to osteoporosis than men are.
- Historically, women have consumed less calcium than men do. Adult women consume approximately half as much calcium in their diets than men.
- Generally speaking, women have less bone mass than men because their frames are usually shorter and smaller.
- Reabsorption of bone begins earlier in women than men.
- During and after menopause the protective, bone sparing effects of estrogen reduce dramatically. Rapid bone loss occurs during menopause. It slows again after 8-10 years.
- Unless women consume adequate amounts of calcium during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the mineral is leached from bones during these times.
- Women live longer than men do. As we age, the likelihood of bone loss increases.
Fortunately, most of these factors are preventable. Eating a healthy diet, taking supplemental calcium, and using natural hormone replacement therapies can reduce the impact of the factors which are not changeable.
While women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, it is important to keep in mind that both sexes can develop osteoporosis, particularly if other risk factors are present.
The Life of a Bone
Bone is made up of living tissue which is called collagen. It is also a storage area for minerals, including calcium and phosphorus. Compact bones are hard and dense. Spongy bones have many open spaces. Bones have several functions. They protect and support your body. Blood is manufactured in the marrow of bones.
You have three types of bone cells. Osteoblasts are young builders which form collagen. Collagen provides the framework that calcium and other minerals are deposited on. Osteocytes are mature, fully grown, “adult” bone cells that do the “work” of bones. Osteoblasts reabsorb osteocytes so that new, fresh, healthy bone cells can take the place of “worn out” osteocytes.
The insides of your bones are primarily made up of osteoblasts, while the outsides are largely osteocytes.
Like every other cell, tissue, and organ of your body, your bones are constantly being renewed. While it may seem like the bones that you have now were the same ones which you had last year, in truth, the cells have been replaced with new vital tissues.