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Defy the statistics –work toward better bone health
By Laura Lohmeier
HEALTH MATTERS FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016
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Defy the statistics –work toward better bone health

You may be surprised to learn your bones aren’t as solid as you think. In fact, under a microscope, your bones look similar to a honeycomb, with tiny holes throughout. Our bodies constantly rebuild our bones when they break down. The problem is, as we age, our bones break down faster than we can rebuild them. This causes more and more “honeycomb” holes and the bones become weaker and less dense.

It’s normal for bones to break if you experience a traumatic blow – maybe a sports injury or a car accident. Healthy bones are able to withstand most falls, however. When the bones are less dense, they are very weak and can break from minor falls or even bumping into your dresser.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis. Studies suggest approximately one in two women and one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis1.

In fact, because you don’t actually feel your bones getting weaker, many never realize they have osteoporosis until they experience a fracture. This is what happened to Betty Staude of Norwalk. Betty said she was in her kitchen one night and suddenly fell.

“Luckily, I was able to get into a chair and eventually move into my bedroom” she said. Betty thought she hurt her hip, but didn’t realize it was broken. When she still had pain the next morning, she called her son who quickly called an ambulance. Betty was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, where she was diagnosed with an osteoporotic fracture – meaning the break was by a fall from standing height.

Betty was seen by Iowa Orthopedics Fracture Liason Coordinator Dudley Phipps, PA-C, at Mercy. “We discussed the nature of her fracture, reviewed her prior history of fractures and obtained lab work to identify potential causes of her fracture,” said Dudley. Betty’s post-op appointment was with Dr. Chinedu Nwosa, an orthopedic traumatologist at Iowa Ortho, who repaired her fractured hip. At that same visit, Dudley began treating her for osteoporosis. Dudley and Dr. Nwosa are confident with proper care, Betty’s future risk of fractures will decrease and she can continue to live independently.

So, what can you do? Weak bones are not a normal part of aging. The habits you adopt now can greatly impact your bone health later in life. Be sure to get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D – the two most important nutrients to keep your bones healthy. Exercising is also important, especially weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening activities. Of course, consult with your doctor if you are concerned about your bone health. Preventing future breaks is worth the time you put in today!

Source: 1 What is Osteoporosis? (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2015, from nof.org

Learn more.

Your physician can assess your risk of osteoporosis and discuss prevention and possible treatments. If you need to locate a physician, go to mercydesmoines.org to learn more.

 

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