A woman's skeleton

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A woman's skeleton

A women's skeleton reaches its peak mass in her mid-thirties. By the time she reaches menopause her bone mass will have changed as a result of aging and other factors such as smoking, drinking, calcium intake and exercise. Researchers once thought that rapid bone loss (osteoporosis) -- 2% to 4% of skeletal mass annually -- slowed after the first five year of menopause; however, we now know that as many as eight to ten years may elapse before the rate of thinning levels off at 1% per year. Thus, estrogen replacement therapy's (ERT) protection against osteoporosis erodes by age 75 for women who take estrogen for less than seven years early in menopause.

Regardless of age or estrogen status, every women will benefit from a bone-maintanence program of exercise, calcium, and vitamin D. For women who are unwilling or unable to take hormones, this triad becomes especially important. Regular sessions of weight-bearing excercise, coupled with 1500 mg of calcium and 400800 IU of vitamin D daily, can stop bone loss for some postmenopausal women. Results have been encouraging for those who participate in exercise programs designed to head off osteoporosis. The best exercises for strengthening bones include brisk walking, strength training, stair climbing, hiking and dancing.

Oriental Medicine.

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