Are Your Bones Healthy?

Osteoporosis is compromised bone strength predisposing an individual to fractures. Bones grow, reform, and re-grow, at all stages of our lives keeping them strong and supple enough to be our skeletal support, but not be brittle. When we talk of bone health we are talking about not only the strength, but the character as well. Some women with back fractures will have pain, but often there is no significant symptom at all. Most crippling and deforming vertebral fractures are usually silent, and would have to be detected by special x-ray tests.

There are however quick at home tests for you. If your spine is healthy then your arm span should equal your height, but your arm span measurement greater than your height? Yes, Michael Phelps was born this way with those butterfly swimming long arms, but for many of us we were born with the arms span equal to our height. If you now have that ratio changed. it means there maybe osteoporotic fractures of the spine causing wedging that leads to the curved and crumpled back posture. Try sitting on the floor and then stand, without using arms, and then balance separately on each foot. Bad balance may be a sign of bone issues as well

The most accurate test is bone densitometry testing. DXA tests give you a T-score measurement of bone strength. There is actually no specific number on your bone test that is completely “safe” from fracture, but the denser your bones on this test the less likely it is that you will fracture. Also look at the numbers that give a percentage of change over a 2-5 year period of time. the weakest bones are associated with measurements that show bone lost is proceeding rapidly, even if the scores are still in the healthy range. Women in pregnancy can lose 3-5% of their bone, if you breast feed you can lose 10% of your bone (but delivery and stopping breastfeeding triggers rapid re-growth), in menopause women will lose 2-4% of their bone per year, and as women get older they will lose about 1-2% of bone per year. Treatments can halt or dramatically slow these numbers.


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