Last week we gathered to hear a panel of experts share their knowledge on all things menopause related. Let’s Talk Menopause! was one of a series of open events hosted at At The Core, Bath, to share knowledge, support our community and offer advice to help you navigate different life-stages with the aim of living an active, healthy and mobile life.
According to the NHS, osteoporosis affects over 3 million people in the UK and more than 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures every year. Women are at higher risk of osteoporosis than men, especially during menopause, when a drop in oestrogen levels can negatively impact the body’s ability to create new bone tissue.
Women who have early menopause (before the age of 45) or have had their ovaries removed can be at increased risk of osteoporosis. It is estimated that, on average, women lose up to 10 per cent of their bone mass in the first five years after menopause.
Bone tissue is maintained throughout life by bone-forming cells called osteoblasts and cells that break down bone called osteoclasts. Bone tissue is constantly being replaced. Oestrogen deficiency increases the number osteoclasts and decreases the number of osteoblasts resulting in bone resportion and loss of bone density. Often going unnoticed until a break, osteoporosis can affect mobility and quality of life.
The stage before osteoporosis is called osteopenia.This is when a bone density is lower than average but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis. Osteopenia does not always lead to osteoporosis and there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Our panel of experts shared some useful menopause positive lifestyle approaches and solutions
We heard from The Menopause Dietician how eating a well-balanced, rainbow diet rich in whole grains, phytoestrogens and healthy fats may help with the symptoms of menopause and that calcium and vitamin D are essential for supporting bone health. You can read more about that in her latest blog post here.
We also heard from Julie Cornwell, Bath-based sports and soft-tissue therapist, how weight-bearing and resistance exercise are essential in helping maintain bone density. Julie practices at The Lansdown Clinic and can be contacted on 07975 791277.
And Fairfield Practice GP Dr Claire Quiggin explained that HRT can be prescribed to help to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and of breaking bones. If you already have osteoporosis or a high risk of breaking bones, HRT can help to strengthen your bones and make fractures less likely.
MBST™magnetic resonance therapy has also been used to help stimulate normal cell function as a preventative therapy and may help strengthen bone tissue. Used as an adjunctive therapy to traditional physiotherapy MBST™ therapy is used to directly target the cells at the point of altered cell metabolism to help stimulate cell function and create the right environment for normal cell replacement.
Medicinal therapies for osteoporosis involve drugs being injected or administered daily often for several years. This treatment commonly results in side-effects such as joint or muscle pain, nausea and other gastrointestinal complaints. A known side effect of anti-resorptive medications for osteoporosis is osteonecrosis of the jaw.
Prevention is often better than cure
For many women, preventative measures to maintain bone density are the preferred choice and a combination of good diet, regular exercise and positive lifestyle choices such as reduced alcohol consumption, giving up smoking along with hormone replacement therapy can help avert osteoporosis.