Nearly all bone growth is done in your childhood and teenage years. From the mid thirties we start to lose more bone than grow bone. The following pages discuss what happens when your bones lose density, what is osteopenia and osteoporosis, what are the signs, symptoms and causes of osteoporosis, and how it is diagnosed. There is information on DXA scans, the importance of calcium and vitamin D to bones and how the treatments for breast cancer and arthritis can lower bone density. What to do to prevent bone loss and maintain bone strength is discussed, along with how to prevent falls.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is loss of bone strength, making bones more fragile and more prone to fracture. Learn more about osteoporosis, osteopenia, common places in the body for fracture and rates of osteoporosis in Australia.
Causes of osteoporosis & osteopenia
There are many causes of osteoporosis. Not only do bones lose density with age, medications used to treat breast cancer, arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s disease and Addison’s disease can also lower bone density. Some illnesses such as hyperthyroidism, hypopituaritism and eating disorders also cause bones to lose strength. You will find information on all of these causes of lowered bone density, along with the role of oestrogen in bone density.
Signs & symptoms of osteoporosis
Often the first sign of osteoporosis is a fracture, as osteoporosis causes no symptoms. Learn more about the different types of common fractures due to osteoporosis including vertebral (spine), hip and wrist fracture.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
This includes the questions you might be asked as part of a detailed medical history, the types of tests you might have such as a DXA scan, ultrasound and blood tests. There is also an explanation of what a T-score from the DXA scan means.
Management & treatment
Find out about the different ways to manage your bone health, including the importance of prevention of bone loss through diet and a healthy lifestyle. You will also find discussions on the different types of medication for osteoporosis such as bisphosphonates, raloxifene and also the positive effects of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on bone.
How important is calcium to our bones? You will also find information on the changes that happen to bones as women age, the recommended daily calcium intake for women at different ages, the calcium content of different foods and types of calcium supplements.
Vitamin D has many important roles in the body including helping with calcium absorption, cell growth and maintaining a healthy immune system to fight disease and illness. Find out about these important roles as well as vitamin D deficiency, how to test for vitamin D deficiency and where to get vitamin D.
Healthy living & bone health
One way to increase your chances of having healthy bones is to have a healthy lifestyle. Below you will find information on the management of bone health through a healthy diet such as the foods to include with calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous and protein. There are also tips on the best exercises for bone health and what to do before you start an exercise program.
Managing the risk of falls
Falls are a particular problem as you age as they can lead to fractures especially of the hip. Find information on what increases the risk of falls, things you can do for yourself to lower the risk of falls and who to see if you need expert advice on how to lower your risk of falls.
Arthritis mostly affects joints, yet many people think of it as a bone condition. Find out how the treatments of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout might increase your risk of osteoporosis and what you can do if you are worried about this.
Breast cancer & bone health
Treatments used for breast cancer can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. This page discusses how this might happen and provides information on the effects of chemotherapy, Tamoxifen and Aromatase inhibitors on bone. There is also information on the benefits of diet and weight bearing exercise to help with bone strength if you also are being treated for breast cancer.
Free women's health email updates
Stay up to date with the latest women’s health related research, information, events and resources every month.