Loss of bone density is common as women age, particularly around menopause when women lose more bone than they make. When bone density becomes so low that fracture is likely, the condition is called osteoporosis. Eight million women in the United States have osteoporosis, but another 34 million are living with low bone mass (osteopenia) unaware they are at risk for fracture. Northwestern Medicine Center for Menopause recently launched its Program for Women’s Bone Health to help women understand their risk factors for osteoporosis and to optimize bone heath and lower the risk of fracture through comprehensive screening and treatment plans.
Two million fractures are attributed to osteoporosis every year. Fractures can be devastating to women, particularly older women; 25 percent of women older than age 50 who have an osteoporotic hip fracture ultimately die as a result of the injury. Other fractures, such as spine fractures, cause pain, breathing difficulty and loss of height.
Women in menopause are at heightened risk for osteoporosis and fracture. Women lose estrogen as a natural result of menopause, which is connected to decrease in bone density.