What is a stress fracture? Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. These tiny breaks develop when repetitive forces placed on the bone exceed its ability to absorb them and repair itself. When the muscles become too fatigued to absorb the extra forces, the bone gets damaged and the tiny fractures appear.
The term osteoporosis refers to the thinning of bones. It is a very common disease, three million people are estimated to have it and over 230,000 fractures occur every year as a result of it. It is said to affect one in two women and one in five men who are over the age of 50, but how much do you actually know about this disease?
When we are young our bodies are continually developing, and the same can be said about our bones. They will continue to grow and get denser as well as stronger until they reach maximum strength, which generally happens when we reach between the ages of 25 to 30 – this is known as peak bone mass. Once we have reached peak bone mass, however, our bones stop getting denser and as we grow older they too will grow older.
In many cases, we tend to think of our bones as being solid and static objects, this, however, isn’t the case. In fact, our bones are an active and dynamic organ, which means they go through a constant process of cell growth and repair as well as change just like all of our other organs.
Our bones are made from strands that are formed by the protein collagen and they are hardened by calcium salts as well as other minerals. Within these strands are blood vessels and everything is protected by a dense outer shell. Inside our bones, there are millions of living cells – these cells are what break down and replace old bone. So how does osteoporosis change this?
Osteoporosis is when you start to lose bone mass, which causes your bones to thin. It means you are prone to breakages and fractures, especially within your wrists and hips as well as ribs. In some cases, fractures have occurred from simply sneezing.
There are a number of reasons as to why you may end up suffering the effects of osteoporosis such as the following:
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, as it can develop into osteoporosis
- Women who have the disease run in their family
- Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption
- Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia
- Low amount of calcium in diet
- Having an inactive lifestyle
- Use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids and anticonvulsants
- Women who have gone through menopause
Although both men and women can and do develop the disease, women are more prone to it. The main reason for this is due to menopause. It is a risk once you are post menopausal, but not all hope is lost as there is preventive treatment that you can undertake.
Once you have lost bone mass it can’t be regained, but what you can do is prevent further damage from occurring by strengthening the remaining structure and preventing any further thinning. The treatment that you do receive, however, depends on the cause of your osteoporosis. For example, in men with low testosterone you can undergo testosterone treatment to increase the hormone.
In other cases of osteoporosis, you may benefit from calcium and vitamin D supplements. Calcium is highly important in maintaining the strength of your bones so you may want to seek supplements with the advice of your doctor.
If you are suffering osteoporosis due to menopause, then natural HRT therapy will be able to help. Supplements such as black cohosh and wild yam will help to maintain your bone density. You should, however, discuss all treatments with your doctor in order to get the best help.
With the right help you will be able to control the effects of osteoporosis even though you won’t be able to cure them. By maintaining and controlling the effects, you will be giving yourself the best chance of a normal life, so make use of the help that is available now.
As part of childhood, falls are very common. Falls can result in fractures or broken bones, however, there are things you can do to prevent these types of injuries happening to your children. Keeping your child safe from everything is impossible, but there are some ways to minimize your child’s likelihood of breaking a bone. Here you will find three tips for helping and protecting your child from getting a fracture or broken bone:
First rule of thumb is to take safety precautions! There are many simple steps parents can take in order to prevent injuries such as:
- Keep walkways and stairs free of objects your child could trip over
- Have your child wear proper safety equipment (i.e. a helmet and safety gear) when participating in sports
- Child proof your home and use car seats and seat belts for children at every age and stage
It’s important to keep your child active and get them involved in regular physical activities and exercise. Weight-bearing exercises such as jumping rope, jogging, and walking can also help develop and maintain strong bones. Staying in good physical shape with exercise also increases muscle strength and reflex speed to prevent falls.
Another way to prevent injuries is to make sure your child is getting the proper nutrients to build strong bones! “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, primary care providers should evaluate the amount of calcium children consume and encourage them to exercise to prevent broken bones later in life. Children 4 to 8 years old should be getting 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Make sure your child is drinking low-fat milk and eating other dairy products such as yogurt to increase his or her calcium intake.” (Kids Health Line) Getting enough calcium earlier on in life can decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes the bones to be more fragile and likely to break later in life. Also, a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables can help keep your child’s bones healthy and strong.
Overall, fractures and broken bones are a common part of childhood. If your child does get a broken bone remember not to stress as many children experience that at one time or another.
1. “Broken Bones.” KidsHealth.org. http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/aches/b_bone.html
2. “Preventing Broken Bones.” University of Rochester Medical Center. http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=157
3. “Preventing Broken Bones.” Kids Health Line. http://kidshealthline.com/2011/07/20/preventing-broken-bones/
4.“Broken bone: Types of fractures, symptoms and prevention” WebMD.com. http://www.webmd.boots.com/a-to-z-guides/bone-fractures-types-symptoms-prevention?page=2
Written by: Sharan Kaur, Rust Built, Marketing Services
Vitamin K is a term which covers chemically related compounds known as naphthoquinones. These compounds include phylloquinone (vitamin K 1) which is synthesized by plants, menaquinone (K2) which is synthesized by bacteria in the gut and menadione (K3) which is the manmade form that is usually given as an injection.
Though vitamin K is known for its role in helping blood clot, it is also vital for bone health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center the human body needs vitamin K to utilize calcium for bone mineralization or the bone building process. Low K levels are therefore associated with poor bone mineralization, which results in weak bones that break easily.
The American Journal for Clinical Nutrition published a study which showed that a low intake of vitamin K from the diet was associated with a low bone mineral density (BMD) in women. This low BMD increases the risk of bones fracturing.
Several studies have proven this correlation between low K levels and bone fractures. The Harvard School of Public Health reports the findings of one study in which women who received 110 or more micrograms of vitamin K each day were found to be 30 percent less likely to develop hip fractures of the hip than those who took less. In this Framingham Heart Study, a high dietary intake of vitamin K was also shown to increase bone mineral density in women and reduce the risk of hip fractures in both men and women.
Harvard also states that eating one serving of green leafy vegetables like lettuce reduced the risk of hip fractures by 50 percent in women who ate them daily when compared to those who ate one serving each week.
According to Dr Weil, other foods that contain vitamin K include parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver and wheat bran. Fermented soy products like natto and miso together with fermented dairy products like cheese and yogurt are other good sources of vitamin K.
Written by: Marian Kim, Rust Built, Marketing Services
Like it or not, loss of bone mass is a natural part of aging and building and maintaining healthy bones become more and more important. So what can we do to keep our bones, the very support for and what forms the overall structure of our body, as healthy and strong as possible?
Health care today is not what it was 20, 30 or 50 years ago. If we had a physical problem, we went to the doctor and usually there was a remedy. Now, people are becoming much more personally involved in their health and we approach it from an attitude of: “How can I prevent disease and discomfort and maintain and preserve my health?”Read More >
Osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans every year. 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 8 men will get osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is known as the silent killer because ½ of the population who have low bone mass are not aware of it. Osteoporosis puts people at a much higher risk for painful bone fractures that are sometimes fatal.
Osteoporosis isn’t picky either as it has lots of bones to choose from. You have 206 bones in your body. So what do you think all these bones do? They aren’t just holding you up. Your bones are living storage materials. Think of your bones like a savings account. Bones have a storage vault: 95% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones. You see, your body absolutely NEEDS calcium to survive. Calcium is even more important for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. Calcium actually helps your heart contract because your heart is a muscle. So given a choice between keeping your heart beating or thinning your bones, your body will withdraw from your bone account, leaving your savings weak, thin and frail. And that’s how you get Osteoporosis. You survive, but may be bound to a wheelchair and/or suffer a debilitating fracture. Osteoporosis is the most common cause of hip fractures, a tragedy that I am called upon to treat regularly. Hip fractures are painful and can result in permanent loss of independence and even death. Preventative action should be taken now. Weight bearing and resistance exercises play an important role in Osteoporosis prevention and treatment. The earlier you begin to build a deposit in your bone bank, the healthier you will be.
Protect your shoulders, elbows and wrists these simple moves from PBS TV star of Functional Fitness, Suzanne Andrews.
Elbow Flexion (Bicep Curls)
Your bicep muscles are utilized every time you carry shopping or grocery bags so keep them strong.
You can do this move sitting at your desk or standing up.
- Keep your elbow stationary at your waist.
- Begin by extending your arm all the way down until your arm is straight at your side. Bend your elbow towards your chest and repeat.
Tip: If you want fast results, take 2 counts to lift the weight and 2 counts to let it down with a controlled movement. Make sure to keep your palm supinated (side up) and in line with your wrist. Don’t allow your wrist to wobble. You can start with a water bottle, and gradually add more weight when you can easily do one set of 15. Aim for 2 sets of 15.
Left to right: Suzanne Andews, Occupational Therapist/L with 4 lb weights, Glenn Edison Poyer, Certified Personal Trainer performing the seated version with 2 lb weights and Alina Z, Certified Health Coach performing the modified version with 1 lb water bottles.
Double Duty Hip and Shoulder Strengthener
- Lift your knee up so it’s in line with your hip.
- Raise your arms to shoulder level with a dumbbell as shown here.
- Lower your leg and your arms at the same time, repeat by lifting opposite knee up and arms at the same time. When this becomes easy you can add ankle weights beginning with 1 lb.
Star of PBS TV’s Functional Fitness, Suzanne Andrews, a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician guides you with evidenced based bone building exercises in Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews Bone Builder DVD.