Posts Tagged ‘Osteoporosis

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.

 

07
Nov
13

Dowager’s Hump Causes and Treatment Options


Camel. Ship Of DesertAlthough the name “Dowager’s Hump” implies that this condition is one that affects elderly women (which it primarily does), it can also affect anyone who spends a lot of time hunched over or who has a severe case of osteoporosis, including men. The medical term for Dowager’s Hump is hyperkyphosis, which is an increase in the forward curvature of the lower cervical and upper thoracic spine. It is a condition that can either be relatively painless or can cause considerable pain and discomfort.

Dowager’s hump is common in people with osteoporosis and is usually due to what is called a wedge fracture. This is when the front part of the vertebra (the side facing your chest) collapses. This causes the vertebra to tilt forward, which forces the back to curve and the head to jut forward. In some cases the curvature is so severe that it forces the head to look downward. It can become a sort of domino effect, with the collapsed vertebra tilting and putting pressure on the one below, until it too subsequently fractures and tilts, etc. In advanced osteoporosis, the bones of the vertebrae can become so porous that they may fracture as a result of lifting something or doing something as simple as coughing or sneezing.

A wedge fracture does not necessarily cause pain, and the first signs of it may be a loss in height or an obvious rounding of the upper back. Other people are more likely to see it before the person suffering from the disorder, as we do not generally see ourselves from the side. Someone with hyperkyphosis may also experience neck pain, breathing difficulties, rib pain and loss of appetite. Symptoms may be worse when coughing or sneezing and may be relieved when lying down.

Those with mild cases of hyperkyphosis may find some relief through yoga. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women with Dowager’s Hump who took yoga classes three times a week for six months had a slight reduction in the curvature of their spine. In situations where Dowager’s Hump is more severe and is causing pain, there are also more invasive treatments available. The surgical treatments vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty involve the injection of cement into the vertebrae to restore their height, reducing pain and spinal curvature.

The best treatment, however, is prevention, which involves strengthening the bones as much as possible and preventing bone loss by eating a healthy diet and getting regular weight-bearing exercise. Maintaining correct posture is also important, as habitual slumping (such as when you use a laptop or when sitting at a desk) eventually causes muscle imbalances, and the muscles and ligaments supporting the spinal column weaken, putting additional pressure on the vertebrae, allowing them to slip out of place. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help keep the vertebrae aligned, along with exercise to strengthen the supporting muscles.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. 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.

 

01
Aug
13

The Benefits of Calcium


Just about everyone has heard about the importance of calcium in maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99 percent of the calcium in our body is stored in our bones. However, the remaining one percent that is located in our blood and cells is just as important. It is milk-bottles-200-300necessary to maintain many of the body’s vital functions, and if you do not get adequate calcium from your diet to keep the required amount in your blood, the mineral will be taken from your bones to meet the need.

Heart rhythm, muscle contraction, wound healing, blood clotting and transmission of messages between nerves and between cells are some of the important things that calcium facilitates. In addition to helping prevent osteoporosis, calcium may also reduce the risk of colon cancer, lower high blood pressure, reduce symptoms of PMS (bloating, food cravings, pain and mood swings) by 50 percent, and protect against breast cancer.

The recommended daily intake of calcium for different groups is as follows:

Infants 0-6 months: 210 mg/day

Infants 7-12 months: 270 mg/day

Children 1-3 years: 700 mg/day

Children 4-8 years: 1,000 mg/day

Adolescents 9-18 years: 1,300 mg/day

Adults 19-50 years: 1,000 mg/day

Adults 51+ years : 1,200 mg/day

Most signs of calcium deficiency do not appear until it has become a serious problem. Increased bone fractures are the most common sign. Severe calcium deficiency can cause tingling or numbness of the fingers, an abnormal heart rhythm and convulsions. However, these cases are rare. Most people are able to meet their daily calcium requirement through their diet, but supplementation may be recommended for some people. Those who drink large amounts of caffeinated beverages, soda or alcohol, and postmenopausal women may benefit from calcium supplements.

Taking too much calcium can also cause problems, so don’t take any more than is appropriate for your age group. Excess calcium intake (most often by taking too many supplements) has been implicated in a higher risk of kidney stones, heart attack, stroke and hardening of the arteries.

Calcium is best absorbed when taken with a meal, along with vitamin D. Magnesium is also necessary for the proper integration of calcium into the bones, but it should be taken separately from when you take your calcium, as it (and iron) can interfere with calcium absorption. So take any magnesium and iron supplements at the opposite end of the day from when you take your calcium.

Foods highest in calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens and bok choy. Other good sources of calcium are sardines, oysters, broccoli, almonds, Brussels sprouts and seaweed.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. 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.

29
Nov
12

How to Improve Your Bone Health at Any Age


Childhood is the ideal time to build strong bones.  However, there are always things you can do—even as an adult—to help keep your bones healthy.  And it’s particularly important to do these things as you age.

Our bones are in a constant state of being broken down and rebuilt.  Until the age of about 30, bone buildup exceeds bone loss. Then bone density slowly begins to decline.  If you’re a woman, the reduction in estrogen that comes with menopause can accelerate this bone loss, sometimes dramatically.  But no matter how old you are, there are four simple things to keep in mind if you’re interested in maintaining higher levels of bone density into older age: calcium, vitamin K, vitamin D and exercise.  Let’s look at how these four are related.

Calcium is integral to maintaining bone strength.  However, the number one source of calcium is not what most people believe it is.  Dark green leafy vegetables are the single best source of this mineral.  Ounce for ounce, they’re even better than dairy products (which are also good).  So the key to feeding your bones is to incorporate more spinach, collard greens, broccoli and bok choy into your diet in addition to dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese).  Tofu is often fortified with calcium as well, so a quick stir-fry including tofu, bok choy and sesame seeds (another great source of calcium) makes an excellent bone-healthy meal.

In addition to being a great source of calcium, dark green leafy vegetables are also high in vitamin K, a vitamin key to the production of osteocalcin, a bone protein.  Vitamin K is needed to bind calcium to the bones and reduces the amount of calcium that is excreted in the urine.  It has been shown to promote higher bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.  For maintaining bone health, the best supplement to take is a form of vitamin K2 called MK-7 (menaquinone).

In order for your bones to make the most of all that calcium, you also need an adequate supply of vitamin D, which is critical to calcium absorption.  However, vitamin D deficiency can be very common in people who live far from the equator and may not benefit from much sunlight during certain times of the year.  Dr. Michael Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, believes that most Americans do not get nearly enough it.  “We want everyone to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter,” Holick says, “but currently in the United States, Caucasians average 18 to 22 nanograms and African-Americans average 13 to 15 nanograms.”

Most vitamin D is produced from our skin’s exposure to the sun.  But even when the sun is shining strongly in the summer months, we are still unlikely to get sufficient exposure.  Many people sit in an office all day and rarely get outside.  When they do, they are admonished to cover themselves with sunscreen.  Sunscreen is good at helping to prevent UV damage, but it is those same UV rays that spur vitamin D production.  Experts advise that you get outdoors in the summer months with minimal clothing and no sunscreen two to three times a week for 5 or 10 minutes between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Equally important in maintaining bone density is performing sufficient amounts of weight-bearing exercise.  Even if you get adequate amounts of the necessary vitamins, you will still lose bone mass if you become a couch potato.  As your muscles and bones work against gravity, it stimulates bone formation and lowers the rate of calcium loss.  You can help to increase bone density at any age by practicing weight-bearing exercise for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.  This can include activities such as lifting weights, walking or running, dancing, playing tennis, climbing stairs or jumping rope.

With just a little extra attention to your diet and some regular exercise, you can significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures and maintain good bone density into old age.

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.

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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