Too young to consider your bone health? Could young women prevent osteoporosis?
I was curious about the age when women actually start to have bone loss. It’s often not detected until women are in their 60’s. But truly, they won’t even test a woman unless she’s in her 60’s. It seems it’s just not considered a “young woman’s” disease.
I asked my doctor for a bone scan just so I could have a baseline at age 42. He was hesitant, stating insurance wouldn’t pay for it because I didn’t have risk factors (age being the big one). But he wrote the script for it anyhow. And then I got flack from the scan technician asking me why I was there. I told her I wanted a baseline…..that I’d had many younger patients over the years that ended up falling and fracturing and only then they were permitted a scan which revealed they had osteopenia or osteoporosis.
What if they could have known before and have been taking preventative measures?
I took a poll recently on an Osteoporosis Forum on Facebook. The poll asked for the women’s age at the time they were diagnosed. Out of 400 women responding, here were the results:
- Over age 60 = ~28%
- Age 51-60 = ~48%
- Age 41-50 = ~14%
- Age 31-40 = ~7%
- Age 30 and under = ~3%
So, 24% of the women were diagnosed under the age of 50.
And when I queried those women that had been diagnosed prior to age 40, asking, “what were your risk factors?” Here are the most common responses:
- Eating disorder
- Family stresses
- Cancer (and it’s subsequent treatments)
- Digestive disorders (Celiac, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis)
- Graves disease
- Prednisone use
- Early hysterectomy
- Congenital (had some bone disorder from birth)
And when I asked further whether these women were provided with any information about their risk for bone health issues, not one of them replied that they were informed.
And without information of their known risk factors, they were not able to be pro-active.
I’m not saying they would have ultimately been able to stop the progression towards osteopenia or osteoporosis. But given one or two strikes against them, perhaps they could have been taking other steps towards protecting their bone health.