(Natural News) Osteoporosis — a disease marked by weak and brittle bones — is often associated with older women, especially those who have gone through menopause. Indeed, postmenopausal women are at high risk for osteoporosis. But this bone disease can also affect younger women, including those in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
It is uncommon for premenopausal women to develop osteoporosis. Often, when they do have osteoporosis, it’s because of an underlying health issue or a drug that causes bone loss — a condition experts refer to as secondary osteoporosis.
When the problem is your prescription
For many people suffering from chronic illnesses, a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine notes that certain drugs cause secondary osteoporosis, which has a significant impact on patient outcomes. These drugs are prescribed for a variety of conditions, including:
- Breast cancer
- Asthma, alleries and other respiratory disorders
- Type 2 diabetes
In particular, the following drugs have been found to cause osteoporosis in younger women:
- Beclomethasone dipropionate inhalers, which are mainly used as asthma treatments
- Budesonide, an anti-inflammatory drug used for Crohn’s disease, and budesonide/formoterol, a combination medication used for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
- Fluticasone, a corticosteroid used in asthma medications, and fluticasone/salmeterol
- Mometasone, a nasal spray used to treat symptoms of hay fever, and mometasone/formoterol
- Medroxyprogesterone acetate or MPA, a birth control drug also used in postmenopausal therapy
- Glucocorticoids, a class of drugs used to prevent inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders
- Valproic acid, which is used to treat seizures but is also known to cause life-threatening damage to the liver
- Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), drugs used in breast cancer treatment and postmenopausal therapy
- Selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs widely used as antidepressants
Other risk factors for osteoporosis in premenopausal women
Aside from taking certain drugs, a woman is at risk of developing osteoporosis early if:
- She does not regularly engage in weight-bearing exercise.
- She does not get enough calcium or vitamin D.
- She smokes or drinks more than one alcoholic drink a day.
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis naturally
In the U.S., over 50 percent of women over the age of 50 will most likely experience a fracture because of osteoporosis. This figure may look grim, but it can be prevented by taking care of your bones while you’re young. Here are some natural ways to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Add just enough calcium to your diet
Calcium is beneficial for bone health, but taking too much can cause a condition called hypercalcemia. This condition is marked by high levels of calcium in the blood, which can weaken bones and disrupt the functions of the kidneys, brain and heart. For women below the age of 50, the recommended daily calcium intake is 1,000 mg. You can easily get this much calcium by eating leafy green vegetables, seeds or tofu regularly.
Get some vitamin D
The body needs vitamin D so it can absorb calcium and use it to boost bone health. The best way to get vitamin D is to soak up the sun, but you can also get it from your diet or from supplements. Women under 70 years should get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day, while those older should get 800 IU. Great dietary sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, trout and salmon. (Related: Women’s health and osteoporosis: Boost bone health and prevent fractures by following a healthy diet and supplementing with vitamin D.)
When you exercise, you stimulate the cells responsible for building bones. In particular, weight-bearing and resistance exercises are great for promoting bone health, especially when done up to four times a week. Some weight-bearing exercises include walking, running, aerobics, hiking and tennis. Resistance exercises, such as lifting weights or water exercises, strengthen the muscles and help build strong bones.
Ladies, learn more ways to boost your bone health at WomensHealth.news.