mass increases during childhood and adolescence, reaching
its greatest mass when we're in our 30s and declining slowly
but steadily as we age. Women have less bone mass than men
at all ages and lose bone mass rapidly following menopause.
In fact, after menopause this bone loss can occur at a rate
of up to five percent per year, putting women at risk for
osteoporosis (bone loss to the point that they become thin,
brittle and prone to fracture).
If the threat of osteoporosis isn't distressing enough, consider
a recent study published in the Journal of the Geriatric Society.
More than 8,000 elderly women (all 65 years of age or older)
evaluated the potential association between bone mineral density
(BMD) and cognitive decline. BMD was measured at the beginning
of the study (baseline) and again 4-6 years later, and vertebral
fractures were determined with x-rays at year six. Women were
also monitored for cognitive changes via several questionnaires
given at different points during the study period.
Women with low BMD at baseline had up to 8% worse cognitive
scores at baseline and up to 6% worse scroes at follow-up
than women with higher BMD at baseline. Women with vertebral
fractures also revealed lower test scores and a greater overall
risk of cognitive decline than women without any confirmed
Exercise and dietary supplementation (calcium) are potential
options for women trying to prevent bone loss following menopause.
This study suggests that preventing bone loss might help prevent
some of the mental declines normally associated with aging.
For a comprehensive evaluation of your exercise, diet and
lifestyle needs as a woman, schedule an appointment with your
chiropractor. And for more information about women's health,
go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/women.html
Yaffe K, Browner W, Cauley J, et al. Association between
bone mineral density and cognitive decline in older women.
Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 1999: Vol.