What’s Happening – Menopausal Transition for Women
The dense cortical bone that makes up 80% of the skeleton is well preserved until the fifth decade of life. Cortical bone loss begins in the 40s. The overall rate of bone loss is similar for both men and women. Since men start with higher bone mass, they don’t get into trouble as quickly as women.
The 40s may begin a tumultuous period for women. About half of women enter menopause during their 40s. In this transition period to menopause called perimenopause bone loss starts accelerating as hormonal levels fluctuate.
Women lose bone at an annual rate of approximately 1.0% that increases to a rate of 2 to 3% in the postmenopausal period. This loss affects both types of bone, cortical and trabecular bone, but the effect on trabecular bone that makes up the vertebral bodies of the spine and end of long bones predominates.
Bone Health Tips for Your 40s
Once you are perimenopausal or have transitioned to menopause talk with your doctor about your risk factors for osteoporosis. If you have risk factors, a baseline bone density scan of your hip and spine is recommended at this time.
Bone healthy measures for your 40s include:
- Recommended calcium intake is 1000 milligrams a day.
- Try to cover the recommended amount from food sources.
- If you fall short, do a menu makeover or use a dietary supplement.
2. Vitamin D
- Recommendations continue at 600 IU per day with no more than 4000 IU per day.
- Diet may not supply sufficient vitamin D in the fall, winter, and spring; a supplement to diet may be needed.
- Same number of calories may increase your weight with menopause.
- Modify your diet to maintain your weight at a healthy level.
- More time exercising is needed to maintain fitness with at least 60 minutes 3 times a week.
- Add walking 10,000 steps a day.