Osteoporosis and eating disorders

Eating disorders and Osteoporosis - June 2010

Did you know that Osteoporosis is quite common in both young and older women who struggle with eating disorders? The term Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones" and refers to the fact that the density of bones decreases, making it more likely for the individual to have factures and broken bones.

While many people think that Osteoporosis occurs only in the elderly, the truth is that if your menstrual cycle has been interrupted for 3 or more months (currently, or in the past), you may be at risk. A poor diet lacking in calcium and other nutrients can also be a factor.

What should I do if I think I'm at risk? If you think that you may be at risk for Osteoporosis, your next step is to go for a bone density scan. This is a completely painless procedure, similar to having an X-ray, that assesses your level of bone density. You can arrange for a bone density scan at an Osteoporosis clinic, or your gyne or GP should be able to refer you. If you have bone density issues, your doctor may prescribe medication which helps to build up your bones, and will recommend dietary changes as well. Weight-bearing exercise, such as hiking or weight-training, is also recommended for those at risk of bone density loss.