Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm: Bone Basics

Marla AhlgrimmOsteoporosis is a serious condition that affects the bones. Here, Marla Ahlgrimm, a women’s health advocate and pioneer in the field of hormone replacement therapy, answers common questions about this bone-weakening disease.

Q: What is osteoporosis?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Osteoporosis, a disease that affects mostly women over 50, is the weakening of bones to a point where even minor injuries may cause fractures. Without proper preemptive care, osteoporosis can cause bones to become brittle enough to break at even the slightest jolt – even from sneezing or coughing too hard. It’s particularly of a concern to women, as post-menopausal women can lose 20% of their bone mass in less than a decade. There are over 10 million people in the United States alone living with osteoporosis. Four out of five of these are women.

Q: How does bone formation change as we age?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Bones are living parts of the body which, like most, experience the greatest growth when we are young. Throughout our early- to mid-adulthood, our bones are in a constant state of loss and regrowth. The older we get, the slower the bone regenerates.

Q: Can I prevent osteoporosis?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Osteoporosis prevention actually begins in childhood, when bones are still forming a solid foundation. However, adults can minimize bone loss through a proper diet rich in vitamin D and calcium, exercise, and keeping adult indulgences (tobacco and alcohol) to a minimum.

Q: Why are women more susceptible to bone loss than men?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women tend to lose bone at a faster rate than men for a couple of reasons. First, women’s bones, on average, are thinner and smaller than their same-size male counterparts. Women also experience a sudden and sharp loss of estrogen, a hormone that works to protect bones, during menopause. Women of European and Asian descent are most at-risk for osteoporosis.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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