Posts Tagged ‘kyphosis’
“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.
Fracture Risk is the elephant in the room. Fractures can keep you from doing what you want for weeks or months. Fractures can put you in a Nursing Home, sometimes forever. Complications of fractures can kill you. Fractures are what you want to avoid if at all possible.
Increased Fracture Risk was defined as Clinical Osteoporosis by NIH in 2000. We may still think of Osteoporosis as a T-score of -2.5 on DXA. This is inaccurate. Fracture Risk increases with age and other factors at any given T-score. Over 80% of the persons who fracture have a T-score better than -2.5 !!! Accurately calculating your true Fracture Risk requires a Complete Bone Health Evaluation.
Last time we discussed the disabilities caused by “humpback” kyphosis.
A major factor in “humpback” is weak back muscles. Upright posture decreases the strain of gravity pulling you forward. Strong back muscles maintain upright posture. A great exercise is to lie on your stomach and then lift your chest and thighs off the floor (or firm mattress). Do this several times a day.
Far more important is workplace posture. Too many of us slouch forward because our computer screens are below eye level. Adjust your work station so that you are comfortable sitting upright, looking straight ahead. If you are reading from a book or paper, use a slanted stand to bring your work to you. Don’t be a pretzel trying to bring yourself to your work.
Many women and men develop a “humpback” as they age – often starting in their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. “Humpback” or Kyphosis tends to run in families. There is a genetic component. But there are factors in nutrition and exercise that you can totally control. Especially if you start early enough.
You cannot see your “humpback” by looking at yourself in the mirror face to face. You have to look at yourself from the side, which is hard without a double mirror. The first clue a woman has, is that she can no longer buy fitted clothing off the rack. Fitted clothing is designed for people without a “humpback”. It just doesn’t fit rounded shoulders.