Osteoporosis: Rule of the bone
Tuesday 08 January 2008
I am 47 and approaching the menopause. I have not had any dairy products for 10 years as they give me diarrhoea. Should I have a bone density scan to check for osteoporosis? I am 5ft 7in, 10st, size 12 (so the correct weight for my height) and I am healthy. I do a desk job but try to get to the gym once a week for a hour; I do a Pilates class every week and I cycle to work, but I'm aware that cycling is not a weight-bearing exercise. I feel that exercise is more important for bone density than calcium, but I know not everyone agrees.
Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:
There are quite a few important risk factors for osteoporosis. Age is the most important, because our bones get thinner as we get older. Being a woman is another, because women's bones are smaller and they deteriorate more quickly after the menopause though osteoporosis can affect men too. White and Asian women are at higher risk than Afro-Caribbean women, as are women who are small and thin (under 9st), and women who have had anorexia or bulimia. An early menopause also makes osteoporosis more likely.The final two factors are diet and exercise. Dairy products are an important source of calcium, but so are leafy green vegetables, nuts, tofu and dried fruit. So the fact that you have avoided dairy products does not necessarily mean that you have been short of calcium in your diet. As for exercise, although cycling is not strictly a weight-bearing exercise, it does help to strengthen the bones by the muscular stress that it exerts on them. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly important when you are young and still building up bone mass.I have put your details into several osteoporosis risk-scoring systems, and they all say that you do not need a bone scan. I think you would be wise to increase your dietary intake of calcium, and get enough vitamin D by going out in the sun regularly. You can score your osteoporosis risk yourself at www.osteoed.org.
Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to firstname.lastname@example.org. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.
Life & Style blogs
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive - it's where the CIA gets its coffee fix
'Game-changing' new way to fight cancer discovered
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...