Health Questions: Osteoporosis?
Question by katjam234: Osteoporosis?
At what age should a woman start taking an osteroporosis pill (Boniva etc.)? Do you have to wait until you are diagnosed with osteoporosis before you take something or can you take it before it develops?
Answer by ER M.D
In osteoporosis, the inside of the bones becomes porous from a loss of calcium (see the picture below). This is called losing bone mass. Over time, this weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break.
Osteoporosis is much more common in women than in men. This is because women have less bone mass than men, tend to live longer and take in less calcium, and need the female hormone estrogen to keep their bones strong. If men live long enough, they are also at risk of getting osteoporosis later in life.
Once total bone mass has peaked—around age 35—all adults start to lose it. In women, the rate of bone loss speeds up after menopause, when estrogen levels fall. Since the ovaries make estrogen, faster bone loss may also occur if both ovaries are removed by surgery.Before menopause, you need about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. After menopause, you need 1,000 mg of calcium per day if you’re taking estrogen and 1,500 mg of calcium per day if you’re not taking estrogen.
It’s usually best to try to get calcium from food. Nonfat and low-fat dairy products are good sources of calcium. Other sources of calcium include dried beans, sardines and broccoli.
About 300 mg of calcium are in each of the following: 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 2 cups of broccoli, or 6 to 7 sardines.
If you don’t get enough calcium from the food you eat, your doctor may suggest taking a calcium pill. Take it at meal time or with a sip of milk. Vitamin D and lactose (the natural sugar in milk) help your body absorb the calcium.
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