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Effects of Osteoporosis During Menopause
For women who develop osteoporosis, the loss of bone growth and lowered bone density can cause a host of health and wellness issues. Here are some of the effects that osteoporosis can have on the physical and psychological well being of women who develop the condition during menopause.
- Bone Breaks and Fractures
- Height Loss
- Curved Posture
- Fear of Motion
One of the obvious — and most common — results of osteoporosis developing during the menopause years is skeletal injuries. As bone density decreases, even slight falls can lead to bone fractures and breaks — and existing injuries can take longer to heal.
Research shows that the term “little old ladies” may actually have merit, particularly when osteoporosis develops. Women can lose as much as six inches in height as a result of bone density loss that occurs during osteoporosis, largely due to compression of the spine.
Many women develop a “dowager’s hump” during their menopause years. A hunched-over posture marked by a bump on the back actually happens as a result of vertebral fractures. When women develop osteoporosis during menopause, even the slightest trauma can cause these vertebral fractures to take place, including relatively simple actions such as lifting something heavy, sneezing — or even turning over in bed. All too often, such fractures go unnoticed until enough have occurred to create curvature to the spine.
One of the most debilitating effects of osteoporosis is not simply physical, but the psychological fear involved with the prospect of breaking a bone. Osteoporosis can lead women to operate in such anxiety that they become virtual shut-ins, particularly for those living with dangerous icy conditions in the winter, placing them at higher risk for slips and falls. As a result, women become less active — which actually can exacerbate bone health issues.
When women do experience bone injuries, the rehab and recovery process can be long and arduous. As a result of lowered range of motion and isolation, many women can develop depression affected by osteoporosis during their later years.