Osteoporosis is a danger every woman over 40 faces. For many of us there is a family history and we wonder if our bones will hold up as we get older. Yes, there are many drugs on the market that are reported to reverse bone loss, but the question is are these drugs safe?
There have been some scary side effects reported from drugs like Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva. It's alleged that they cause a rare condition in which part of the jaw bone dies.
This leaves women facing a difficult dilemma. Balancing the risks and benefits is different for every woman, and depends on factors such as genetic history, diet and lifestyle. Figuring out how to proceed also requires having a very careful discussion with a qualified physician.
Are you at risk?
The more "yes" answers, the greater your risk for developing osteoporosis:
- Do you have a small, thin frame and/or are you Caucasian or Asian?
- Have you or a member of your immediate family broken a bone as an adult?
- Are you a postmenopausal woman?
- Have you had an early or surgically-induced menopause?
- Have you taken high doses of thyroid medication or used glucocorticoids 5 mg a day (for example, prednisone) for three or more months?
- Have you taken, or are you taking, immunosuppressive medications or chemotherapy to treat cancer?
- Is your diet low in dairy products and other sources of calcium?
- Are you physically inactive?
- Do you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol in excess?
Melinda Beck's article in today's Wall Street Journal has lots more information you need to be aware of. Remember all of us Real Cougars need to be our own best health advocate.