What’s Happening – Menopause for Women
The average age of menopause is 51. Half of all women enter menopause during their 50s. With the loss of estrogen support, bone breakdown increases and bone formation is unable to keep up. This is a critical time for women who are at risk for a substantial loss of bone.
Rapid bone loss averages 2% to 3% per year over the 5 to 10 years after menopause. This may result in up to 20% bone loss in the early menopause. Bone loss is highly variable. Race and presence of risk factors contribute to different rates of bone loss.
The amount of bone in the skeleton depends on peak bone mass and the rate of bone loss. If you are starting with a lower baseline at peak bone mass, you may more quickly develop low bone density and osteoporosis.
Men also lose bone after age 50 but at a more constant and gradual rate.
Bone Health Tips for Your 50s
Plan to talk with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis and what you can do to lower your risk. Reassess your overall health. Lifestyle habits, illnesses, or medicines may impact your bone health. If you have risk factors, a baseline bone density scan of your hip and spine is recommended at this time.
Transition to menopause is a critical time for maintaining your bone health. You need to spend some time to work on lessening the decline in bone density. It probably takes more intense aerobics and weight resistance exercises to try to stave off bone loss.
Bone healthy measures for your 50s include:
- Recommended calcium intake increases to 1200 milligrams for women and stays at 1000 milligrams a day for men.
- 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 put on pounds since your metabolism slows down with menopause.
- Eat a balanced diet to maintain your weight at a healthy level.