The consequences of having weak and unhealthy bones can be severe, and become increasingly more dangerous as we age.
Consequences of Osteoporosis
Because osteoporosis has no symptoms until a fracture occurs it frequently evades focus until too late in life. Our bones not only allow us to move, but they also support the entire body, protect vital organs, and store calcium and phosphorus. The consequences of having weak and unhealthy bones can be severe, and become increasingly more dangerous as we age. The good news is there are steps you can take starting today that will help foster a strong skeletal system. By being aware of the risks associated with poor bone health, and choosing to identify and address your reason for bone loss early on, you are minimizing your risk of fracture, loss of independence and function.
We often hear and think of heart disease, stroke and cancer leading the causes of death as we age but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury and death for adults 65 and older. For those who suffer from osteoporosis, or other bone diseases, they might not even know of the state of their bone health before it is too late, and they experience a life-altering fall. With osteoporosis, the bones become very fragile and break much easier. The aftermath of breaking a bone, especially for those in a higher age group can be ruinous. Not only is someone’s physical health negatively affected, but social and emotional turmoil can also follow.
Hip fractures in particular can be devastating for anyone, but especially as we age. In the United States, nearly 300,000 people over the age of 65 will fall and break their hips every year.
Typically, there are two types of hip fractures that one can sustain, the first are fractures as a direct result from a high impact injury such as a car accident, and the other is a fracture that comes from experiencing a fall (very prominent for someone who has osteoporosis). While any break or fracture is awful to experience, hip fractures are among the most dangerous for both men and women.
Recovering from a hip fracture is typically a painful and lengthy process that unfortunately doesn’t always have a positive outcome of full recovery. This particular observational study focused on Rates of Recovery to Pre-Fracture Function in Older Persons with Hip Fracture, and found that recovery rates were low, especially for geriatric patients. Of those who were ADL (activities of daily life) independent prior to their injury
36% returned to their independence
27% survived but needed ADL assistance moving forward
This graph demonstrates the sobering reality that hip fracture death rates increase as we age and if you are a man.
They also found that among those with a high baseline function prior to their injury meaning, ADL independence, no difficulty walking, and the ability to climb stairs without resting, only one-third returned to their prior level of functioning after rehabilitating from their fracture.
Another study that was conducted by the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts discovered that of the patients who survived the first year following their hip fracture, only 26% regained their prefracture levels of social functioning.
It goes without saying, experiencing a hip fracture can be traumatizing and a very difficult injury to recover fully from for nearly anyone, but especially those who are older, have a bone disease, or have other comorbid conditions.
Another unfortunate result of poor bone health comes in the form of compression fractures, which are fractures in your vertebrae or spine. This type of fracture is most commonly associated with osteoporosis and occurs at a staggering rate of 1.5 million per year in the United States. A holistic approach is the most effective way to lower your risk of experiencing a compression fracture.
Recovering from a compression fracture caused by osteoporosis can take three months or more. The best thing you can do to protect your bones is to take preventative measures and find out WHY you are losing bone and what to do about it. If you do suffer a compression fracture, asking advice from someone who understands these injuries is key!
The fear of falling can be debilitating, especially for those who have fallen before, whether they were injured or not. This can severely impact someone’s quality of life, and cause them to become less active out of fear of having a fall. By default, those people who become less active also become weaker which can also increase their risk for falling in the future.
Here are some ways you can start better caring for your bones starting today, so that you hopefully never have to experience an injury caused by falling.
Make sure you are getting enough calcium from food or quality supplement sources
Increase your vitamin D and vitamin K intake (read more here about the impact vitamin K has on your bones)
Maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle
Get screened for osteoporosis
Eliminate dangers in your home that might increase your chances of falling
If you believe that you are at risk for osteoporosis or osteopenia due to your take control today and contact our team at Optimal Bone Health. Your future self will thank you for it. For those individuals who have osteoporosis, a hip fracture can be deadly. But with the right approach to prevention and treatment, nearly anyone can reduce their risk of enduring dangerous fractures.
Optimal Human Health, the operating company for Optimal Bone Health is a cutting-edge, physician-led team using lifestyle, extensive blood and functional testing to take you from where you are today, to where you want to be in your journe. Don’t wait any longer, contact our team of experts today.
Articles. Cedars. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/compression-fracture.html