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President Of International Menopause Society Urges Women To Focus On Overall Bone Health, Not Just Bone Density

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The U.S. population is growing older and that means millions of women are going through or have gone through menopause, which can impact bone health.

CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez has some surprising information on how to improve it.

Most women know that menopause can lead to thinning bones. A common consequence of thin bones is a broken hip, which is a lot more serious than most realize.

"If you break your hip in this country, 21% of women will be dead within a year. I want to get my patients just as concerned about their bone health as they are about their breast health," said Dr. Steven Goldstein of NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Goldstein is president of the International Menopause Society. He wants women to refocus their health thoughts more broadly from menopause and bone density to overall bone health. The trouble is, for most women and even doctors, that just means a passing grade on a bone scan.

"At 48, I had a full hysterectomy and was just slammed into menopause, and really afraid to get a bone density scan," said Michelle Trulask.

Trulask's scan showed she was losing some bone density. With Dr. Goldstein's blessing, she turned to exercise instead of medications.

"There is a connection between muscle mass, muscle strength, muscle performance and bone health. If you have low bone mass and any degree of muscle wasting, you triple or quadruple your risk of falls and fractures," said Dr. Goldstein.

In addition, while building muscle, also work on balance. They go together to help prevent falls and improve bone health.

"Bone health makes you think you're in control of it and you can do something about it. Osteoporosis is a scary word that you don't really want to hear," said Trulask.

Bone health is more than a passing score on a bone scan. Even then, you should be building muscle, maybe taking vitamin D, calcium and, sometimes, osteoporosis drugs that help build bone.

The goal is to prevent osteoporosis or a broken hip.

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