The Sobering Effects
The effects of osteoporosis include frequent bone fractures and pain. As the disease progresses, osteoporosis may eventually lead to disability. Any way you look at this medical condition, quality of life is compromised by the consequences and causes of osteoporosis.
The pain related to osteoporosis is usually related to bone fractures. Once you have this disease, your chance of experiencing reoccurring fractures is high.
In fact, 20 percent of the women who experience a hip fracture are likely to experience a second one within a year. Clearly this disease can be debilitating in its later stages.
The truth is that senior citizens die early every year due to the consequences of broken bones connected to the disease. A person with a compression fracture has a higher risk of death than someone who does not have osteoporosis and is healthy. Left untreated, the disease turns healthy people into disabled people who are afraid to leave the house or do many of the simplest daily activities.
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Quality of Life Issues
Quality of life is important. It's a term that refers to your ability to enjoy life on your own terms. Quality of life includes being to complete daily activities, enjoying chosen recreational activities, not living in fear or pain, and staying healthy. It even includes being able to perform job duties at work!
The effects of osteoporosis can rob you of all these aspects connected with the quality of life. There are millions of people who struggle with the impact of osteoporosis on their lives. In the United States alone it's estimated that 55 percent of the population over 50 years old has low bone density, osteoporosis or some other degenerative bone disease.
Preventing Falls and Fractures
An important part of reducing the risk for fractures is preventing falls. Risk factors for falling include:
- Slow walking
- Inability to walk in a straight line
- Certain medications (such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills)
- Low blood pressure when rising in the morning
- Poor vision.
Recommendations for preventing falls or fractures from falls in elderly people include:
- Exercise to maintain strength and balance if there are no conflicting medical conditions.
- Do not use loose rugs on the floors.
- Move any obstructions to walking, such as loose cords or very low pieces of furniture, away from travelled areas.
- Rooms should be well lit.
- Have regular eye checkups.
- Consider installing grab bars in bathrooms especially near shower, tub, or toilet.
Osteoporosis causes more than 1.5 million fractures annually.
About 50% of women and 25% of men over age 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime. Each year, there are about 700,000 spinal fractures, 300,000 hip fractures, 250,000 broken wrists and more than 300,000 fractures of other bones. About 80% of these fractures occur after relatively minor falls or accidents. These effects of osteoporosis
Risk Factors in Children and Adolescents:
The maximum density that bones achieve during the growing years is a major factor in whether a person goes on to develop osteoporosis. People, usually women, who never develop peak bone mass in early life are at high risk for osteoporosis later on.
Children at risk for low peak bone mass include those who are:
- Born prematurely
- Have anorexia nervosa
- Have delayed puberty or abnormal absence of menstrual periods.
Although to a large extent genetics predict bone health, exercise and good nutrition during the first three decades of life (when peak bone mass is reached) are still excellent safeguards against the effects of osteoporosis and countless other health problems.
Long Term Impact
There is a long term impact also. Once osteoporosis has progressed to the point where bone fractures are common the chances of dying early increase. Up to 20 percent of hip fracture patients die within a year of when the fracture occurred. There are over 300,000 hip fracture hospitalizations every year.
Living with osteoporosis can mean living with frequent broken bones, numerous doctor visits, and high medical expenses. But it's the quality of life issues that finally convince some people that treatment is necessary.
If you're afraid to pick up the grandchild, go for a walk, travel to the family reunion and so on, out of fear you'll break a bone, then your quality of life has been compromised. The effects of osteoporosis can be devastating, but that does not have to happen
if you work with your doctor and follow a treatment plan for rebuilding stronger bones.
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