Posts Tagged ‘Bone

11
Nov
13

Should You Have a Bone Density Test?


??????????Osteoporosis is one of the most prevalent conditions among older people. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-induced fracture at some point in their lives.

A loss of bone mass becomes more common as we age, causing bones to become more brittle and increasing the risk of a fracture or break. Many fractures that occur are asymptomatic.  However, some may cause shooting pain or chronic pain in areas such as the back, where a fracture will only be evident on imaging tests. A bone density test can be a very useful tool for helping to keep your chances of having a fracture to a minimum.

There are a few good reasons why you may want to have a bone density test. First, it can tell you if you have osteoporosis or if your bones are weak before you experience a break or fracture; second, it can predict the likelihood of you experiencing a break in the future; and third, it can measure if your bone density is getting better or worse based on any actions you are taking (such as medications or exercise).

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that people who are likely to be at greater risk for osteoporosis have a bone density test done.  You should consider having one if any of the following descriptions apply to you:

  • You are a woman age 65 or older
  • You are a postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors
  • You are a women of menopausal age with risk factors
  • You are a man age 70 or older
  • You are a man between the ages of  50 and 69 with risk factors
  • You have broken a bone after the age of 50
  • An x-ray has shown a break or bone loss in your spine
  • You have back pain that may indicate a break
  • You have lost ½ inch or more of height in one year
  • You have lost 1 ½ inches from your full grown height

 

The bone density test uses a DXA machine (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) to measure the density of bone in your hip and spine, and occasionally other bones, depending on your particular situation. The density of the hip and spine is measured because these are the bones most likely to break with osteoporosis, and because breaks in these areas are also among the most debilitating. The test is painless and non-invasive and is performed with the patient fully clothed. It takes about 15 minutes and the level of radiation from the machine is minimal.

If you feel you fit into any of the at-risk categories above, it may be beneficial for you to have a bone density test done so you and your health provider can develop strategies to reduce your chances of breaking or fracturing a bone.

 

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07
Nov
12

Why We Shrink as We Get Older


If you’ve ever noticed that the car ahead of you in traffic seems to be driving itself, there’s a good chance that the person driving it is elderly.

Shrinking in height as we age is quite normal, and some people start to get shorter starting at about the age of 30.  Only about 20% of the population does not noticeably shrink, which is due to a combination of good genetics and a healthy lifestyle.

Not only do we shrink with age, but our height also varies considerably each day, by up to three-quarters of an inch.  The vertebral discs that are sandwiched between the vertebrae, and which act as shock absorbers for the spine, are composed of up to 88% water.  In the course of our daily activities, this water is slowly squeezed out of these discs every time the spine moves.  Then when we are lying down at night in bed and pressure is taken off the discs, the disks reabsorb the expelled water, similar to a sponge.  So it’s likely you are somewhat taller when you first get up in the morning than you are at the end of the day.

With age, a number of degenerative processes can interfere with keeping the vertebral discs properly hydrated, causing them to become less pliable.  In addition, bone degeneration can contribute to the gradual collapse of the vertebrae, particularly in the upper back, which causes what’s referred to as “dowager’s hump,” that can take some inches off your height.

Studies have found that men lose and average of 1.2 inches in height between the ages of 30 and 70, and 2 inches in total by age 80.  By comparison, women lose 2 inches in height between age 30 and 70 and a total of 3 inches by age 80.

While genetics plays the largest role in how much you shrink as you age, lifestyle choices can make a significant difference as well.  Those who smoke, are obese, have diabetes, get little aerobic exercise, drink excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine and who do not follow a healthy diet are at greater risk of losing a significant amount of height as they age.

And while losing some height as we age is normal, losing too much over a short period of time can be an indicator of a more serious health condition.  It is not unusual to shrink in height by a quarter inch to a third of an inch each decade after the age of 40.  However, if you are a man between the ages of 45 and 65 and notice that you are shrinking, you should see your doctor.  Rapid loss of height in men can be an indicator of heart disease and can suggest they are at greater risk of a fracture of the spine or hip.  A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that men who lose two or more inches within two years after age 70 have a 54% greater risk of a hip fracture, and women have a 21% greater risk.

Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that men who had shrunk 1.2 inches or more over a 20-year span had a 46% greater likelihood of heart disease and were 64% more likely to die from any cause.

The best way to help preserve your height is to eat a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D) and to get plenty of exercise, particularly weight-bearing exercise (which includes walking and running), which helps to keep bones strong.

 

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst hispatients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levelswho benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

02
Oct
12

Should You Have a Bone Density Test?


 

Osteoporosis is one of the most prevalent conditions among older people. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-induced fracture at some point in their lives.

A loss of bone mass becomes more common as we age, causing bones to become more brittle and increasing the risk of a fracture or break. Many fractures that occur are asymptomatic.  However, some may cause shooting pain or chronic pain in areas such as the back, where a fracture will only be evident on imaging tests. A bone density test can be a very useful tool for helping to keep your chances of having a fracture to a minimum.

There are a few good reasons why you may want to have a bone density test. First, it can tell you if you have osteoporosis or if your bones are weak before you experience a break or fracture; second, it can predict the likelihood of you experiencing a break in the future; and third, it can measure if your bone density is getting better or worse based on any actions you are taking (such as medications or exercise).

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that people who are likely to be at greater risk for osteoporosis have a bone density test done.  You should consider having one if any of the following descriptions apply to you:

  • You are a woman age 65 or older
  • You are a postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors
  • You are a women of menopausal age with risk factors
  • You are a man age 70 or older
  • You are a man between the ages of  50 and 69 with risk factors
  • You have broken a bone after the age of 50
  • An x-ray has shown a break or bone loss in your spine
  • You have back pain that may indicate a break
  • You have lost ½ inch or more of height in one year
  • You have lost 1 ½ inches from your full grown height

 

The bone density test uses a DXA machine (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) to measure the density of bone in your hip and spine, and occasionally other bones, depending on your particular situation. The density of the hip and spine is measured because these are the bones most likely to break with osteoporosis, and because breaks in these areas are also among the most debilitating. The test is painless and non-invasive and is performed with the patient fully clothed. It takes about 15 minutes and the level of radiation from the machine is minimal.

If you feel you fit into any of the at-risk categories above, it may be beneficial for you to have a bone density test done so you and your health provider can develop strategies to reduce your chances of breaking or fracturing a bone.

 

If you have any question regarding back pain and osteoporosis, call us at 919-484-1400

Dr. P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 




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