Postmenopausal Women: Are You At Risk?
Posted on 3rd March 2020 at 17:26
A woman is considered to be postmenopausal when she has not had her period for an entire year.
There are three common issues affecting postmenopausal women worldwide: osteoporosis, accidental falls, and stress incontinence, amongst other things too. The thing about each of these issues is that we can stop their progression and sometimes even reverse their effects with committed, intentional action.
Here’s what we mean…..
Osteoporosis is a reduction of bone density. It can make us weak and more susceptible to fractures. It is considered a major health threat for over 200 million people worldwide. The effects of the disease vary depending on the severity of the diagnosis. There may be no symptoms until a fracture occurs; however, symptoms often include:-
Develops slowly over years
Simple fall from chair or standing results in fracture
Common fragility fractures – hip, wrist, spine
Fracture healing slow
Vertebra fractures can occur from coughing and sneezing. Vertebra become squashed and collapse causing reduced height, stooped posture.
Possible awareness of shrinking height, stooped / hunched over posture
Aches and pains are NOT a symptom of osteoporosis. Chronic back pain with other risk factors may indicate osteoporosis, have it checked.
Impaired ability to do housework, chores, gardening or lifting heavy objects
How to manage osteoporosis:.
Exercise can PREVENT and IMPROVE osteoporosis by stimulating bone formation. In addition to any doctor recommended prescriptions and vitamins, the best way to manage living with osteoporosis is to commit to a healthy diet and above all - an ACTIVE, healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, particularly weight bearing exercise like walking or marching on the spot.
Muscle strengthening exercises
Strong muscles provide better support for your joints.
Increase tone and improve balance which may help prevent a fall.
Can include press-ups, lunges and squats, and lifting weights.
Simple exercises that can be done at home without having to go to the gym.
How does exercise help?
Muscle pulling on bone makes bone stronger, so weight-bearing exercises result in denser, stronger, less fragile bone. Try strength training with weights or machines, hiking, stair climbing, and sports such as tennis. Varying the type of exercise you do can keep exercise interesting so that you’ll stick with it.
Regular walking – the more vigorous the better
A goal of 30 minutes moderate exercise 5 times a week
An excellent way to get started on the right track to managing or preventing osteoporosis is with our free advice sheets which you can download right here.
Accidental Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide, with adults over the age of 65 suffering the greatest number of fatal falls. Each year, an estimated one in three senior adults experiences an accidental fall. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five of those falls results in a significant injury like broken bones or a head injury. With the high rates of osteoporosis in women, they are more likely to experience an accidental fall, and more likely to sustain an injury from that fall.
How to reduce your risk falling:
Ensure your home and exterior areas are properly lit
Use handrails (install them if you don’t already have them)
Check your home for hazards. Avoid uneven or loose rugs, trailing wires etc
Beware of going out in icy weather, and wet or slippery floors
Keep areas free from clutter
Understand your medication and know if it makes you dizzy or lightheaded or lowers your blood pressure. Dizziness can result in a fall
Use a stick if you need one
Have your eyes checked
Exercise to maintain muscles for quicker reaction, and greater balance and stability
These are just some of the many things you can do to reduce your risk of falling. If you’d like to learn more, our free fall prevention advice sheets will have you covered. You can download it here.
Stress Incontinence is experienced by 45% of all women, typically in their postmenopausal years, though it is also often an issue for athletes. 1 in 5 women over the age of 40 will have stress incontinence. It occurs when weak pelvic floor muscles fail under sudden extra pressure. This extra pressure can be brought on by simple everyday activities like coughing, laughing or sneezing. It can also be brought on by jogging, jumping, or lifting heavy objects. The weakening of pelvic floor muscles is common and is caused by any number of things like childbirth or obesity.
Women frequently change their activity to avoid leakage or stop any physical activity at all to avoid embarrassment.
How to treat stress incontinence:
Stress incontinence might make you feel uneasy, but it doesn’t have to disrupt your social and personal life. Effective therapies include routine exercises to strengthen and tighten pelvic floor muscles for greater bladder control.
Essentially using muscles that would be used to stop flow of urine midstream (do NOT practice stopping midstream).
Contract muscles between the anus and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis with the sensation of lifting them up and forwards, as if going up an escalator.
Whilst tightening the pelvic floor muscles, you should not ‘see’ the contraction from the outside, don’t suck in your tummy or hold your breath, or squeeze your buttocks.
Exercises should be done repeatedly through the day, minimum of 4 times a day.
Make conscious tags to remind you to do them during daily routines – every time you are waiting for the kettle to boil, washing your hands, sitting at red traffic lights, waiting at the bus stop, brushing teeth etc
Learn the specific exercise you can do to significantly reduce instances of stress incontinence in our complimentary advice sheets, yours to download for free right here.
Regular activity is good for your overall health at any age. And it gets increasingly important as we get older.
Women, in particular, will have special needs as their hormones change during menopause and osteoporosis becomes an increased risk and with that, falls become more dangerous.
Understanding our personal level of fitness and exploring ways to live a healthy active lifestyle will help us stay fit and avoid common injuries.
Preventative care throughout our lifetimes can prepare us for an independent, full life in our retirement years. We’re happy to provide guidance to help prevent and treat these common problems. Stay healthy and in the know with our free prevention advice sheets here.
And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page where we’re posting fun, informative tips and tricks to help you stay injury-free - whatever you’re doing.
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