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National Women's Health Week focuses on 'Know Your Bones'

Posted at 3:46 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 17:53:19-04

(WXYZ) — In today’s Health Alert, it’s National Women’s Health Week - a time when women are encouraged to prioritize their health and learn more about issues specific to them.

Every year, the FDA Office of Women’s Health selects a theme. This year, it’s “Know Your Bones.”

I fully support women prioritizing their health. When it comes to bone health, women are four times more likely than men to develop Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis means bones have become weak and fragile, making them more prone to breaking, even with minor incidents like a bump or a fall. This occurs because the body doesn't make enough new bone to replace the old bone that's breaking down.

The reason why women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis is due to a few factors. After menopause, the hormone estrogen, which keeps bones strong, decreases. Aging also plays a role, as natural bone loss happens as we grow older. Plus, women with a smaller, slender build are more likely to develop the disease.

However, please don’t think that osteoporosis is solely an older woman’s issue. Even younger women can develop it. That’s why it’s crucial to build strong bone density during childhood and adolescence. When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone. Once you hit age 30, bone loss begins to outpace bone formation. That’s why prioritizing bone health throughout your entire life is important.

Taking care of your bones is important no matter how old you are. Here’s what women can do:

  1. Try weight-bearing exercises. Walking, jogging, dancing, or strength training can help keep your bones strong.
  2. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol. They can weaken bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  3. Eat foods with calcium. Dairy products, leafy greens, tofu, and fortified foods are good sources.
  4. Also, get enough Vitamin D as your body needs it to absorb calcium. Good sources include oily fish like salmon, eggs, and fortified foods.

If you find it difficult to get enough calcium and Vitamin D from your diet, you can consider supplements. But talk to your family doctor to make sure you’re taking the right amount.
In addition, it’s also important to:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Manage stress and
  4. Schedule regular check-ups, screenings, and preventive care appointments with your family physician.

Encouraging women to prioritize their health and take proactive steps to prevent illness and disease can lead to healthier and happier lives not only for them but also for their loved ones.