Empowering Women: Confronting Osteoporosis Together

August is Women’s Month, and this year I wanted to speak about a particular medical issue that not only affects me personally but also thousands of other women across the globe. I’m talking about osteoporosis. This condition is so much more common than you realise and is certainly one worth talking about.

Osteoporosis is like a whispered secret. Quiet, creeping and damaging. This bone density disease affects millions of women worldwide, not only altering the physical structure that supports us, but also sapping the strength and spirit that motivates us. So let’s bring it out to the light and speak about what osteoporosis means to me, to you and to women’s health.

As most of my regular readers are aware I am a huge advocate for good gut health (this is definitely one of my personal crusades and I love sharing info about great gut health!). Well, on a more recent trip to the doctor, another vital concern emerged on my radar- osteoporosis. I had heard the term spoken about before but this is something I thought only impacted older individuals. That perspective shifted abruptly when I underwent a bone density scan and was diagnosed with the condition. This news made me realise none of us are safe from unexpected medical issues and reminded me that women’s health issues are woefully under-discussed.

Awareness and proactivity are our greatest allies on the battlefield of good health. With this in mind let’s examine what exactly osteoporosis is. More than just medical jargon, osteoporosis is a serious, life-changing condition that primarily affects women. Often called the “silent disease” because it can progress without noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs, osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes a decrease in bone density and quality, leading to fragile and brittle bones.

osteoporosis

Imagine our bones as the architectural framework that holds us upright. Osteoporosis weakens this foundation, making it fragile and vulnerable. It is a quiet thief that steals our bone density over time, leaving us susceptible to fractures that can shatter not only our physical strength but also our emotional resilience. This condition affects both men and women, and can be caused by a variety of factors. However; its presence looms particularly large in the lives of women, due to the hormonal changes we experience during menopause. In the book of women’s health, menopause is definitely a poignant chapter!  As our ovary production winds down we are inevitably faced with a new set of physical challenges. Hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disturbances and the wild rollercoaster ride of hormonal fluctuations all come together and affect our bodies and minds. Add into the mix loss of bone density and now we’re navigating a path of hormonal hell!

osteoporosis

As a woman, you will inevitably have to face this change of life at some point – if you haven’t already. So what can you do to lessen the effects of osteoporosis? Adopt a multi-faceted approach to kick osteoporosis in the butt! Eat a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D through sources such as dairy products and whole leafy greens or take supplements where necessary. Engage in regular exercise. Particularly (and I can not stress this enough) engage in weighted exercises like strength training. This type of exercise stimulates the bones to adapt and become denser by increasing bone mass and enhancing bone mineral content, making your bones stronger.

Make good lifestyle choices. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are both responsible for weakening bones, so get rid of any crappy habits you’ve picked up along the way! Lastly, talk with your doctor. Do regular medical checkups and voice your concerns where you have them. Too often women are dismissed for being “paranoid” or “emotional” but when it comes to maintaining good health stand up and advocate for yourself – loud and proud.

It is your health and long-term happiness after all. I hope sharing my story will empower you to take inventory of your own health and embrace the journey that is the passage of time with an open mind, a little knowledge and a lot of fortitude.

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