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Why Is Osteoporosis More Common in Women Than Men?

Why Is Osteoporosis More Common in Women Than Men?

Osteoporosis develops when your body no longer produces new bone quickly enough to replace older, weakening bone tissue. Approximately 10 million people in the United States have osteoporosis, and 80% of them are women.

At The Riegel Center in Plano, Texas, Christopher Riegel, MD, offers personalized osteoporosis prevention and treatment plans for each patient. Regardless of gender, your risk of this disease increases as you get older.

Why is osteoporosis more common in women than in men? Let’s take a look at the possible factors, and what you can do to prevent bone loss as you age.

Bone mass and density

Generally speaking, women tend to be smaller than men and have lighter bones that are more prone to breaking. The higher your bone mass and density in your youth, the more tissue you have in reserve when production slows down.

Both women and men with small body frames (weighing under 127 pounds) are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. A calcium-rich diet helps support bone density, as does weight-bearing exercise, such as lifting weights, walking, and running.

Menopause and hormone imbalance

Estrogen helps prevent the loss of calcium from your bones. During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen production slows down and leaves your bones vulnerable. Hormonal imbalances, like those caused by an overactive thyroid, can also contribute to low bone density.

According to the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation, women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the 5-7 years after menopause. Dr. Riegel uses hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to increase your estrogen levels during and after menopause and slow the progression of bone loss.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Calcium and vitamin D both help to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Women typically build bone mass until they’re 18 years old, and getting enough calcium during this time is critical. 

Pregnancy can rob your body of bone-supporting vitamins and minerals, though most women recover lost bone mass after they give birth.

If you don’t consume enough of this mineral in your diet, your body takes the calcium it needs from your bones. Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium more efficiently. You naturally produce vitamin D when you spend time in the sun, and it’s present in some foods, such as salmon and other fatty fish.

Longer life expectancy

For both men and women, the threat of osteoporosis increases as you age. Since women tend to have a longer life expectancy, that can mean more time for your bones to deteriorate. 

Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle into your golden years can help prevent bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.

Other risk factors

While being female statistically increases the danger of osteoporosis, the following factors can increase your risk even further:

If you’re at risk of developing osteoporosis, hormone specialist Dr. Riegel can help you maintain strong bones, prevent fractures, and feel years younger with personalized bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Make an appointment at The Riegel Center in Plano, Texas, to learn more.

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