There are medical conditions Baby Boomers need to be particularly mindful of because it is not too late to change the course of your future health. You do not want to end up with osteoporosis. This is a preventable and treatable disorder
As a person ages, osteoporosis, which means ‘porous bones,’ can develop, causing bones to become unusually fragile and effortlessly broke. Osteoporosis is the result of declining estrogen levels, both in women and men. Estrogen controls bone metabolism.
Breaks and fractures take place in the spine, wrists and hips. Senior citizens must diligently avoid falling because a tumble can result in a permanent health crisis and possibly even death.
When osteoporosis is severely advanced the individual may develop what is called a dowager’s hump. The hump results in horrible back pain and loss of height and well as an obvious malformation.
In advanced, osteoporosis, vertebral fractures take place because the spinal vertebra becomes permeable and breaks without warning. Vertebra is a bone of the spinal column that is a stout projection connecting nearby bones. When the vertebrae break, a spinal hump (kyphosis) can result.
A specific fracture called a wedge fracture is generally what causes the front of the vertebra to collapse although the back of the vertebra doesn’t break. When the front of the vertebra collapse this causes the vertebra to tip to the forward. In time, the spine becomes crooked.
The fractures occur in the upper half of the lumbar spine or in the area of the lungs, which is the thoracic region of the spine. The area above the fracture tilts to the front which causes the back to curve.
When this takes place, the vertebra located above the fracture put pressure on the remaining vertebra. The domino effect occurs and produces other wedge fractures.
Over time, vertebrae keep giving away and the back becomes more bowed. The person ends up extremely bent over and looking down at the ground.
A wedge fracture is silent and doesn’t necessarily cause pain so an individual might not realize it has occurred. However, if a person notices a slight rounding of the upper back becomes evident this very well may be the start of a dowager’s hump.
As the dowager’s hump progresses it becomes more difficult to breath and pain is experienced in the shoulders as well as in the neck. The neck muscles must be stretched in order to see people and objects.
As the condition advances, the chin becomes closer to the rib cage, which requires that even more muscles be utilized to balance the person’s head.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Find out if you are at risk. Those people who smoke – which causes bone loss — are small boned,or don’t get enough calcium in their diet – 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium is recommended per day – or have a history of osteoporosis in their family as well as those who drink too many caffeinated drinks or too much alcohol or are at risk.
If your physician has diagnosed you with osteoporosis, take the medication that is prescribed. This is not optional. Do it!
Starting now, become acutely aware of your posture. If your posture is good this lessens the chance you will get a dowager’s hump.
Eat a calcium-rich diet and exercise because movement improves muscle strength and the quality of your bones. Stretching helps lengthen and strengthen your spine. Doing yoga is an excellent way to ward off osteoporosis.
You can greatly reduce the risk of getting osteoporosis by modifying your diet and exercising.
Jen Atkins is a copywriter with Mountainside Medical Equipment in Marcy, NY. Well-versed in marketing, Jen enjoys researching and writing about current health-related topics and sharing information about medical supplies with Mountainside Medical’s online community.