Deep Bench: Women at increased risk for osteoporosis after menopause

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 2:47 PM CDT
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Winter weather is around the corner. And with it comes hazardous conditions that can cause a slip and fall, potentially leading to a broken bone.

If you're a woman over 50 who is postmenopausal, fractures may not be solely a result of falling . They may be due to postmenopausal osteoporosis.

To help raise awareness, Bone and Joint Action Week is held every year in mid-October. To discuss osteoporosis, its connection to fractures and how to improve bone health, Dr. Laila Tabatabai, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, and her patient, Liz Alhand, joined the Deep Bench on NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Thursday.

"A greater need for collaboration is definitely needed. We know that awareness is this area can improve," said Dr. Tabatabai.

In a survey of health care providers, 1 in 4 are not treating their patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis who have already suffered a fragility fracture.

"Menopause itself is a major risk factor for osteoporosis. Most women enter this phase of their life around age 50, but it can be variable," Dr. Tabatabai explained. "And the decline in estrogen results in reduced bone quality and impaired bone density."

She said over 8 million women in the United States have osteoporosis, many of whom are untreated, and 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will suffer a fragility fracture in her remaining lifetime.

Alhand said in a 10-year period, she had three serious fractures, all requiring surgery.

"They all came about from me doing normal things in my home." Alhand said. "Some tests were conducted, including a bone density, and they came back with a diagnosis that I had postemenopausal osteoporosis."

She encouraged anyone over 50 to get a bone densisty test.

Dr. Tabatabai said there are many treatment options available on the market today. One type prevents bone loss and the other results in bone building.

She said there are side effects including a reduction in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and diziness. She encouraged women to discuss all treatment options with their health care provider.

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