Posts Tagged ‘Fracture Risk’
“Why did I Fracture?” and “Why do I have Osteoporosis?” are common questions I hear from older women and men. They are taking Calcium and Vitamin D3, eating a diet with Protein, Fruits and Vegetables, and Exercising regularly. They are “doing everything right”, and still they have deteriorating bones. What is wrong?
The simple answer is “Birthday Disease” – too many birthdays. Increased Fracture Risk (Clinical Osteoporosis) is totally natural as we age. Women after Menopause, and men after age 70, lose 1-2% of their Bone Mineral Density (BMD), and more of their Bone Strength, every year.
When I was in Medical School, 40 years ago, that was the end of the story. Many older women (and some older men) became kyphotic (stooped over), fractured and fell, and either died or went to a nursing home for the rest of their lives. Then, there was nothing we could do to stop it. Today we can often prevent osteoporosis, fractures and misery.
Sometimes a person breaks a hip first, then they fall. This happens a lot more often than we realize. When the break is just below the ball of the hip, the fracture may have come before the fall. Moreover, that Fragility Fracture may have gradually developed over days or weeks.
How is it possible that a person does not realize that the hip is gradually crumbling? We call it a Stress Fracture when a crack gradually developes. Small cracks gradually getting bigger are usually not recognized until they are completely across the bone and it breaks, causing the patient to fall. Why?
The aching pain of a stress fracture is often too gradual to distinguish from arthritis pain until the break is complete and the whole bone collapses. The best way to see this process is to watch a video of the I-35W bridge collapsing in Minneapolis on 1st August 2007. http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=i35w+collapse Tiny cracks slowly developed in the steel until one day……..THUD!
How can you detect who is at high Hip Fracture Risk? A very low DXA T-score, especially in the spine, is a good indication. But DXA often fails if the spine is already crumbling or has arthritis. A better indication is Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA). Looking at the spine from the side, Vertebral Compression Deformities can indicate crumbling spongy bone in the spine before the spongy bone in the hip also crumbles.
Know where you stand. Get a Complete Bone Health Evaluation. Take Control of your future.
Jay Ginther, MD
“But, I don’t want to get fat” was the constant refrain of a patient who consistantly lost weight, lost muscle mass, and fractured again. Despite urging bordering on harassment, from her friends, she avoided meats and other proteins, most vegetables, fiber, and starches. She often found room for desserts.
Her muscles were so weak that she had trouble rising from a chair. Her walk had become a slow shuffle. Her skin became tissue-paper thin. Her Body Mass Index (BMI) had fallen far into the danger zone of below 19. It is possible to be Too Thin. Persons with a BMI below 19 are at increased Fracture Risk, and increased Risk of Death From All Causes.
Wrong Question! What you should be managing is Fracture Risk. If you only look at Bone Mineral Density (BMD), you miss the chance to decrease Fracture Risk in the overwhelming majority of people.
85% of the women who Fracture have a DXA score of “osteopenia” or even “normal”. Keeping their bone density at “only osteopenia” does them no favor. So how can you manage Fracture Risk?