Risk factors for postmenopausal osteoporosis

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      Fifty-eight women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (crush fracture of the spine) were compared with 58 age-matched normal women. The osteoporosic women had lower total-body calcium levels and bone mineral content of the radius, had undergone an earlier menopause, smoked cigarettes more, and had breast-fed less often. They also had lower levels of estrone, estradiol, and testosterone and reduced levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. These findings suggest the presence of changeable risk factors for the development of osteoporosis. Smoking should be discouraged. An adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D should be ensured. It is the opinion of the authors that those women who have had an early menopause or who have a low bone mass at the time of menopause should be given the choice of medically supervised replacement therapy with estrogen and progesterone.
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