Hi everyone, Dr. Donovan here. Really excited to share what we have today on why bones matter.
It’s something I educate people a lot on in the clinic; how their osteoporosis profile relates to what they can do, and what they maybe shouldn’t do. All of these include lifestyle modifications and different ways of moving your spine and hips to help protect them over time. Most importantly, they lower your fall risk.
Lowering your fall risk will mitigate any risk of acute fracture. When we discuss osteoporosis, we’re talking about bone mineral density and osteopenia. It is most common in older adults and mainly postmenopausal women, but that doesn’t mean you should stop caring about your bones even if you don’t have a degenerative bone disease; it’s something to maintain throughout your lifetime.
Fractures occur when a load into the bone outweighs that bone’s ability to bear weight. This happens only in two ways:
The first is through acute trauma that occurs from a fall, specifically onto a wrist, hip, or femur. This can happen at any age, but with the addition of osteoporosis, that bone can now sustain less force and create a greater fracture. In my clinic with folks that have osteoporosis, our first line of defense is minimizing the risk for falls. The lower the risk for falls, the lower the risk for fracture that will, on a month-by-month basis, decrease our opportunities for bone-breaking events.
The second way a fracture occurs is when the load exceeds the threshold for remodeling. Our bone strength gradually weakens regardless of our of the age we’re at any time after about 35. If that strain imparts the load in the wrong direction at too high of a force, a stress fracture occurs. So fractures occurring by osteoporosis most often occur in the spine, and these spinal fractures are called vertebral compression fractures. They occur in the rate of nearly 700,000 a year. They’re only diagnosed based on x-ray imaging, so I imagine the prevalence is likely a little higher than is captured in the data. So enough the bad news, what’s our solution?
You have some time to start working on your bone integrity and minimizing the negative effects of osteoporosis. In future videos, we’re going to understand your treatment options, including pharmaceutical and injection options. Find your partner in bone health, whether it’s a physical therapist or a primary care physician. With the spine, we do want to be careful; if you’re osteoporotic, you’re already going through a disease state. So paying special attention to your deficits and impairments is really important.
Stay tuned for future lifestyle solutions to maintain bone integrity!
– Patrick Donovan