Vitamin D, Calcium and Kids: Are They Building Strong bones? According to an article by Patti Neighmond (“Recipe For Strong Teen Bones: Exercise, Calcium And Vitamin D”), there’s a relatively small window of time during which our bones do most of their growing. In fact, she claims that between the ages of 9 – 15, 90% of our bone mass develops. And yet, she points out, only 15% of teenagers drink milk, with girls accounting for only 9%. The reasons for this lack of milk drinking seem to be simply that drinking milk is not considered ‘cool’ and the fear of weight gain. The ‘uncool’ness of drinking milk has been addressed by the “Got Milk?” ads for many years.Read More >
If you have kids, chances are you’ll wind up taking at least one of them to the Emergency Room, and leaving with that child in a cast. According to Wikipedia, about 15% of all childhood injuries are fractures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_bone_fracture. There are many types of breaks, ranging from what’s known as a hairline fracture, (a very thin break where the bone stays in place), to much more complicated breaks that might involve surgery to put the bone back where it belongs. Sounds bad, and for any parent who sees his/her child in pain, it is. But the good news is that children’s bones usually heal very quickly, and with the right treatment should heal as good as new.
So what, as parents, can we do to help our child heal? A couple of things…
- Make sure your child eats a balanced diet, including the RDA of calcium and Vitamin D.
- Rest the limb as much as possible, use a sling when recommended.
- Ask about possible treatment plans – depending on the fracture there may be alternative treatments available to speed up the healing process (although children’s bones heal faster than adults anyway).
- Keep the cast dry, and notify your doctor immediately if it gets wet, breaks, cracks, or starts to fall apart.
- Ice the cast. Even through the cast, the cold will help with any swelling.
- Don’t allow the child to poke anything under it to scratch. It’s going to itch, but instead of poking anything under it, try using a blow drier. Blow cool air between the skin and cast. This should help.
- Notify the doctor if there is an increase in pain or numbness, or the fingers or toes become pale or turn blue.
- Follow your doctors recommended treatment plan, while healing and after the cast has been removed.
- Let them know that the limb might look a little different when the cast comes off, but it won’t last.
- Check with your doctor to be sure it’s ok to return to normal activities and any sports your child is involved in, while healing and afterwards.
That trip to the ER isn’t going to be easy, for you or your child. But by following a few pieces of advice, the bone should heal as good as new in a much shorter time than the same break would heal in an adult. So do what you can to keep your kids safe, but know that while not inevitable, there’s a good chance your child will break something at some point. They’ll heal, and you can help them with that process.
Osteoporosis is “a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D” (1). Osteoporosis is more commonly known as a disease of the bones. As a result of osteoporosis, “your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from simple actions like sneezing or bumping into furniture.” (2)
Osteoporosis is not a disease to be taken lightly. As osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become brittle and fragile, osteoporosis can cause severe pain, affect your posture, and can limit your mobility. Most common areas of osteoporosis in the body are hip, spine and wrist, but other bones can break easily as well.
Osteoporosis is also difficult to detect as it is better known as a silent disease since bone loss occurs without symptoms. “Osteoporosis develops very slowly over a period of many years. The condition may creep up on the patient without any obvious symptoms initially – it can take several months, and even several years to become noticeable” (3). “People may not know that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes a hip to fracture or a vertebra to collapse” (4). Early signs of osteoporosis include difficulty standing, sitting up straight and joint pains.
How can osteoporosis be prevented? Some factors of osteoporosis you cannot change such as your age, gender, body size, ethnicity, and family history, however, there are steps that you can take to keep your bones healthy:
- Eat a healthy diet with enough nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D
- Do not drink in excess or smoke
Osteoporosis might be the most common bone disease known by most people; however, there are a variety of other bone related diseases. Two other bone diseases which are commonly known are called Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Paget’s Disease of Bone.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta is “a genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily” (7). This disease is more commonly known as “brittle bone disease.” Osteogenesis Imperfecta is caused by a mutation on a gene which in turn, affects the body’s production of collagen in bones and tissues. Although there is no cure for Osteogenesis Imperfecta, symptoms can be managed with a healthy lifestyle, medication, or surgery.
The second bone related disease is Paget’s Disease of Bone which “causes bones to grow larger and weaker than normal.” (5). Paget’s Disease of Bone may cause pain and lead to medical problems. The disease is treated with medicines that slow the breakdown of bone tissue and quite possibly surgery if the disease progresses.
1. “Osteoporosis” http://www.dictionary.com
2. “What is Osteoporosis?” http://www.nof.org/articles/7
3. “What is Osteoporosis? What Causes Osteoporosis?” http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155646.php
4. “Osteoporosis Overview” http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/overview.asp
5. “Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases” http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/default.asp
6. “What Is Osteoporosis?
Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public” http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/osteoporosis_ff.asp
7. “Facts about Osteogenesis Imperfecta” http://www.oif.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AOI_Facts
Aging gracefully takes more than a good face cream. As we age it is important to keep our bodies active and exercised to maintain strong bones and good balance.
Our guest author and Senior health coach, Patty Hopker, gives us some great tips on how to avoid being injured from a fall.