Actress Sally Field was just short of another milestone, her 60th birthday, when she received news that she had been diagnosed with Osteoporosis.Osteoporosis is a major disorder of the bones, leading to thinning of the bones which enhances the risk of bone fractures.
According to Steve Goldstein, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Medical Center in New York City, bone building when we are young is faster than bone loss. But this process only reverses as we grow older. "The older you get the more bone loss speeds up and bone building slows down," says Goldstein.
Women need to be on guard, because this process gains momentum after estrogen levels drop around the time of menopause. Estrogen actually helps in arresting the pace of bone loss. This paves the way for many women to suffer osteoporosis or at least be in the risk category.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) seemed to work like magic, famous for its bone protecting properties and remedying hot flashes and mood swings. But HRT also came into bad light, when a government initiative, WHI, linked the prolonged use of HRT with risks of heart disease, breast cancer and even stroke.
Sally Field faced a similar problem. She said "When I completely went off HRT, my bone density took a really big dive and my doctor noticed it."
According to experts, women need more calcium. Field, a winner in sprit, decided to fight osteoporosis for all it is worth. The Actress, after consulting with her doctors, started to take the medication, Boniva, which was a new medication manufactured by Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.
Today, Field is a satisfied and happy person, slowly regaining good bone health. In her words ""Aging successfully isn't just about looking good, it's about having a good solid feeling about your health and yourself as a healthy person."
The risk factors for osteoporosis include, advancing age, heredity, having a small, thin, frame, low estrogen levels, and a lifetime of low calcium and vitamin D intake. A minimum of 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily is recommended from the ages 19 through 50, increasing to 1,200 milligrams on a daily basis after one crosses the age 50. This can be taken in the form of calcium supplements, or through natural sources such as low-fat dairy products including fortified skim milk, yogurt, and even ice cream.
Calcium absorption can be enhanced by taking 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D daily. Alternatively, 15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week will assist the body to manufacture its own vitamin D. Exercise is very crucial to keep the bones in good health. Weight-bearing workouts such as walking, dancing or stair climbing, and resistance training, several times a week is recommended to keep osteoporosis at bay.