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Is bone density hereditary?

 

Whether or not our bones are dense is partly hereditary, but can also be affected by our diet across our life, how active we are during our lives and for how long we remain active. Is bone density hereditary?

Our bone density is at its optimum at the age of 30, but it is natural to lose around 5% of our bone mass in the first year of menopause, which for some women can start in their early forties. For every year thereafter, we lose about 1% of bone mass, but in healthy women, with no osteoporosis, this should not cause undue worry. Starting HRT treatment can help to maintain bone density for longer because if we keep our hormones in balance old bone will be removed from the body and new bone deposited by our body cells on an ongoing basis.

Your GP can book you a DEXA scan (dual energy x-absorptiometry scan) if you are concerned or just interested in learning more about your bones at a cellular level. It is painless and non-invasive, but will calculate your T score, which indicates whether you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, or are at risk of developing it. Either of these conditions can be life changing, although osteoporosis can be more easily managed. If you are shown to have osteopenia it is likely you will at some point break your bones because this group of women tend to also be more active later into life, which is a good thing, but needs to be carefully managed if you are diagnosed with osteopenia in particular.

Using HRT will help support your normal bone cycle as you grow older and allow you to continue to be confident about your body for longer. It is also important to maintain a good and healthy diet and to exercise regularly, so that you are not carrying unnecessary weight, which will put an extra strain on your skeletal system. Bone mass and bone density are the hidden parts of our body that are affected by the perimenopause and menopause, so once again, knowledge is key to living a lifestyle that supports our bodies rather than puts them under increased stress.

Further information can always be found through your GP or clinic.

 

 

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