What Makes Women More Susceptible to Osteoporosis?

When you think about your bones, the first word that comes to mind probably isn’t tissue. Tissue seems like a soft word, something you would associate with organs or intricate, fragile body parts. Your strong, resilient bones, the ones that help you walk and move, couldn’t be made out of flimsy tissue. 

Yet bones are made out of living tissue – the cells in your bones are constantly changing in a process called remodeling. As an adult, your bone cells dissolve (resorption) while new cells get deposited (formation). What happens when resorption outpaces formation? Your bones grow weak and you develop osteoporosis. 

Everyone’s bones eventually hit a point where resorption beats out formation; it’s a simple consequence of aging. Only some people, however, suffer from osteoporosis. Hopefully you already know that women are more likely to develop this condition. But why are they more susceptible? A look into the science behind osteoporosis can shed some light and hopefully get you started on the road to prevention.

When it comes to osteoporosis treatment, South Texas Spinal Clinic has got you covered. Our staff is well-equipped to help you with whatever this condition throws at you. James W. Simmons III, DO, and Annette Gantz, NP-C are both Fracture Liaison Certified Specialists and Certified Ambassadors for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Their specialty unit, the South Texas Fracture Prevention Clinic, is the only clinic in Texas to be recognized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation on their “Map of Best Practices.” 

Osteoporosis facts

Osteoporosis is one of the most serious health issues faced by the elderly. According to Osteoporosis Canada, at least one in three women and one in five men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. In fact, over 80% of all fractures in people over 50 are caused by osteoporosis. Most patients don’t know they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture, as brittle bones have no other noticeable health effects. 

How osteoporosis develops

As a child and young adult, formation outstrips resorption with ease. Your bones continue to grow and get stronger, building bone mass, even after you’ve reached your tallest height. In your early 20s, however, your bone mass slowly stops growing and most people completely cease bone growth by their late 20s. Most adults begin losing bone mass around 40 and continue in slow decline as they age.

Why women are more susceptible

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has found that one in two women over age 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture. In fact, a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. So, what’s behind these numbers? There are two main factors:

  1. Women typically have smaller, thinner bones than men. This means that it takes less bone mass loss for a woman’s bones to become brittle.
  2. Menopause. Estrogen and testosterone play a big part in protecting your bones and preventing fractures. A man’s testosterone levels decline slowly over time. For women, estrogen levels decrease sharply after menopause. Because of this, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis both during and after menopause. 

It should also be noted that Asian and Caucasian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than other ethnicities. Men need to remember that they, too, can develop brittle bones – everyone over 50 is at a higher-risk for osteoporosis-related fractures.

If you’re worried about osteoporosis and your risk of bone fracture, come see us at South Texas Spinal Clinic. Our expert team will provide you the excellent care and treatment you deserve. Call or book an appointment at one of our 11 South Texas offices today. 

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