Posts Tagged ‘menopause’

6 Ways to Stop or Reverse Bone Loss during Menopause

Prevent Bone Loss During MenopauseIf you’re a perimenopausal, menopausal, or even postmenopausal woman, this blog’s for you. You’ve probably heard that you’re likely to lose bone mass during menopause. The good news is you can take steps to help preserve and even build bone density before natures takes its toll.

Do these 6 things and you’ll enjoy stronger bones and better overall health:

  1. Eat Right. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, seeds and nuts, and lean protein. Avoid sugars, preservatives, fatty meats, and refined grains. It’s also a good idea to take a nutritional supplement formulated for bone health. In particular, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium, and vitamin K, which is essential to bone health.
  2. Strengthen Your Muscles. The best time to begin building your muscles is before you start losing bone mass. Exercise can help you regain bone as you build muscle. Even if you’ve already gone through menopause, you can still add bone mineral density with an exercise program. Non-stressful aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming, and biking, are great, and yoga and Pilates also help to build muscles and bone density gently.
  3. Control Chronic Inflammation. Injuries, food allergies, and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can all cause chronic inflammation, and inflammation in or around the gut can affect your ability to absorb bone-building nutrients. Sugar, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates tend to increase inflammation, while daily omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation. Pay attention to how the foods you eat make you feel and control inflammation for better bone health.
  4. Get Your Hormones in Balance. Hormones fluctuate during perimenopause and menopause, and the jury is still out on how those hormones affect bone loss. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may or may not be right for you—that’s for you and your doctor to decide. But you can help keep your hormones in balance with a healthy diet, and you may also find that certain herbal therapies work for you.
  5. Be Mindful of How You Lose Weight. While maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to protect your overall health, be careful of how you go about losing if you’re overweight. Postmenopausal women who lose weight also tend to lose bone. This is where a healthy diet, supplements, and exercise come in again, to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs while you maintain and build muscle mass and bone density.
  6. Relax. Stress and worry only make bone loss worse. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone, and cortisol can weaken the bones and cause other problems over time. Yoga, t’ai chi, and other mind-body practices can help reduce stress while building bone and strengthening muscles. And once again, a healthy diet and exercise are key to both your mental health and your bone health.

Are you perimenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal? What steps have you taken to maintain or improve your health? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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Why Are Women Over 50 More Likely to Suffer From Knee Pain?

Knee Pain in womenIf you have knee pain, you know how debilitating it can be. And if you’re a woman, you have an even greater chance of developing knee pain after you reach 50. In a recent “Health Minute” spot, CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen spoke with Emory orthopedic physician Dr. Ken Mautner about knee pain in women over 50.

According to Dr. Mautner, knee pain in younger women tends to come from tendonitis or irritation issues around the knee. However, as women age, earlier knee injuries may lead to arthritis. The American College of Rheumatology reports that nearly two-thirds of women ages 50 and older have some degree of knee pain, and that pain is often due to osteoarthritis. And, Dr. Mautner says, women are more at risk for arthritis than men.

“We think that estrogen may have some protective effect on the cartilage of the knee,” Dr. Mautner says. That translates to a greater chance of experiencing knee pain after menopause.

Overuse injuries can cause knee pain, as can weight. If you have knee pain, your first step is to see your primary doctor to start determining the cause. He or she may then send you to a specialist. Treatment options may be as simple as taking acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications or using exercise as medicine, to strengthen the stabilizing muscles around the knee. Physical therapy may also be an option. When working out, avoid high-impact exercises that can further injure the knee. Low-impact exercises, like swimming, are a good alternative.

To watch Cohen’s “Health Minute,” visit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2012/01/26/hm-womens-knees.cnn

Are you over 50 and suffering from knee pain? Would you like to learn more about knee pain treatment at Emory? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.