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Osteoporosis Care for Women

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle and more likely to fracture (break) as the bones lose density. Bone density measures the amount of bone tissue that is in bones. A physician order is needed for a dexa scan which is used to measure bone density.

Left untreated, osteoporosis can weaken bones, increase the risk of fractures, and lead to other health problems. The most common fracture sites for patients with osteoporosis are the wrist, spine, and hip. The good news is that this ‘silent disease’ is preventable and can be managed through diet, exercise and / or medication. Surgery can also help.

Bisphosphonates are the main medications used to both prevent and treat bone loss, and are most often taken by mouth and in some instances through an IV.

Maintaining Bone Health for Life


The body builds the most bone during childhood years. To ensure healthy bones, children should eat foods rich in calcium and participate in regular physical activity.

Young Adulthood to Age 30

Bones become strongest and reach "peak bone mass" during young adulthood. Healthy childhood habits including eating foods rich in calcium and participating in regular physical activity should continue through these years. 

Age 30 to Menopause

From age 30 through menopause, the body only produces enough new bone to maintain "peak bone mass". Total bone mass declines slightly during these years. Healthy habits are key to maintaining strong bones. 

After Menopause

Menopause is when a woman stops having monthly menstrual cycles. After menopause, the body makes less of the female hormone, estrogen, which increases bone loss. A physician may recommend treatment to reduce the risk of fracture and to maintain current bone strength

Later in Life

With age, the quality and quantity of bone declines. In later years of life, the body loses more bone mass than it makes meaning extra bone care is needed to prevent fractures. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for bone health. Increased awareness and daily safety precautions can help prevent falls  A physician may also recommend calcium supplements and other osteoporosis treatments. It is important to talk with a physician before beginning any osteoporosis treatment. 

Preventing Bone Loss

Negative lifestyle choices can increase bone loss or decrease bone growth. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is important to avoid:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Certain medications
  • Protein-rich or salty foods
  • Caffeine

Daily Calcium Needs and Sources of Calcium

Calcium-rich foods are needed to help the body build and repair bones. 

Daily Calcium Needs for Women

  • 14-18 years old: 1,300 mg    
  • 19-30 years old: 1,000 mg
  • 31-50 years old: 1,000 mg
  • 51-70 years old: 1,200 mg
  • Over 70 years old: 1,200 mg
  • Pregnant or nursing women: 1,200 mg

Sources of Calcium

  • Plain, low-fat yogurt (8 oz)
  • Non-fat or low -fat milk (1 cup)
  • Swiss or cheddar cheese (1 oz)
  • Ice cream (1/2 cup)
  • Sardines or salmon sockeye (3 oz)
  • Cooked white beans, navy beans, or soybeans (1/2 cup)
  • Oatmeal (1 cup)
  • Tofu made with calcium sulfate (3 oz)
  • Collards (1/2 cup)
  • Whole wheat English muffin (1 muffin)
  • Kale (1/2 cup)
  • Orange (1 medium)