Osteoporosis, meaning “porous bones,” causes the bones to become weak or brittle. The decrease in estrogen after menopause puts women at a higher risk for the condition than men, especially as they age.

Many women lose up to 10 to 20 percent of their bone mass in the years surrounding menopause. And by age 70, bone mass typically decreases by 30 to 40 percent.

That’s why all women should have a bone mineral density test by age 65, although people with certain risk factors may need a screening at a younger age.

A bone density score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis. While the condition has no cure, medications can help slow the breakdown of bones.

But even with the diagnosis, you can still take steps to maintain and improve your bone health and prevent falls that could lead to fractures.

Practicing self-care can also help support your treatment and help you feel your best. This may include:

  • cooking balanced, nutrient-rich meals
  • making time for the activities you enjoy
  • exercising regularly and safely
  • reducing stress through meditation or other techniques
  • connecting with others in a support group

Self-care is highly individualized, though, and it may look different from one person to the next. Trying different strategies can help you develop a self-care regimen that fits in to your overall osteoporosis treatment plan.

Wondering how well your self-care plan is working for you? Take this lifestyle assessment to see if you’re on top of your osteoporosis self-care game or if you need to bone up.