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Archive for the tag “osteoporosis”

180417 Osteoporosis: The risk factors

180417 Osteoporosis: The risk factors

Some risk factors are under your control whereas others are not. Here is a brief list for your consideration.

1. Gender-of the ten million people with osteoporosis in the United States 80% of these are women. Particularly affected, and at increased risk for the disease, are Caucasian and Asian women.

2. As you grow older your risk increases.

3. Your diet and health history habits make contributions to the disease. Drinking alcohol and smoking, along with a lack of calcium and vitamin D and exercise hasten the onset of this bone weakening condition.

4. Other health conditions such as hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis seem to predispose a person to osteoporosis.

5. Medications such as thyroid medication and oral steroids can damage the bones.

More to follow.

091013 Early detection of disease – screenings for men

Early detection of disease – screenings for men

The earlier a disease is detected, the better off you may be. If you begin treatment soon after finding the problem the treatment is more effective in the early stages and the greater, the likelihood is that you will avoid any complications from the disease.

There are many opinions from various medical organizations recommending different health screenings at different frequencies in your life to consider. Your personal health history, as well as that of your close relatives, will have an influence on your decision to have these tests.

Don’t waste your money on useless tests; consult with your doctor to find out the ones that may benefit you the most. The following recommendations are generally those providing the greatest information for continued monitoring of your health.

Blood pressure readings measure the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of high blood pressure advises getting this done at least every two years for anyone past the age of eighteen.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation counsels getting a bone mineral density test (BMT) at least one time for men over seventy years of age. A BMT is an Osteoporosis test that screens for brittle, weak bones leading causes of fractures in the elderly and those with osteoporosis.

Colon cancer screening tests for colon cancer or precancerous polyps. The American Cancer Society recommends the following schedule for these tests:

• At age fifty men should have tests for polyps and cancer with a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Colonoscopy every ten years
• Double contrast barium enema every five years or CT a colonography which is a virtual colonoscopy, every five years.
• Tests with the principle goal of finding cancer include:
o a yearly fecal occult blood test or a
o yearly fecal immunochemical test
• Diabetes screening tests. These check if you have high blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association these should be done every three years once you are past forty five years of age.
• The American Optometric Association advises regular eye exams along these lines:
o Ages 18-60 every two years
o Beyond age 61 every year
• Determining the fasting lipoprotein profile every five years, beginning at age twenty plus is the goal of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel. This checks the cholesterol levels in your body, which is one measure of your hearts health.
• The American Cancer Society recommends prostate screening for possible signs of prostate cancer starting at age 50. However, before jumping into the tests discuss the benefits and potential false readings with your doctor. For certain, African American’s and men with a family history of prostate cancer should be getting tested on a regular basis at an earlier date in their lives.

None of these tests are painful and there is no excuse not to be getting them on a regular basis.

240513 Strength and flexibility training-2

240513 Strength and flexibility training-2

Increasing your lean muscle mass through the use of bodyweight, bands or free weight exercises  boosts your metabolism, maintains and increases your bone mineral density. A study conducted in 2002-2003 showed that regular strength training, note the words strength training, reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by approximately twenty three percent when compared to men who did not resistance train.

As a minimum, head off to the gym or to your exercise room and work the large muscle groups at least three times a week on alternate days for a minimum of twenty minutes each session. If you’re already exercising for twenty minutes then bump it up to thirty with the goal of forty five to fifty minutes three times a week. Do so in stages of ten percent per week until you reach the top times.

The large muscle groups include the shoulders, chest, legs and back. You can use your body weight, free weights or elastic materials during these training sessions. Keep a log book.

After the strength training session is over, move into five to ten minutes of static stretching. Hold these stretches at the point of mild discomfort for ten to thirty seconds, three to five times per stretch per area.

Stretching will improve your flexibility; the answer to those tight lower back, hamstring and shoulder muscles and joints. It is vital that you do stretches for your calves, thighs, hips, low back, your neck and shoulders if you want to stay fluid in your movements. Do them slowly and hold them for the prescribed amounts of time for each one.

200513 The link between gardening and stronger bones

The link between gardening and stronger bones

Calcium has been the go to supplement recommended by doctors and used by women to help maintain their bone health. Even though calcium is necessary for strong bones, it is not enough. You still need to do weight bearing exercises such as those found in strength training.

Adding an external load to your body puts a healthy stress on your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. All of which working together increase the density and thereby the strength of your bones. Placing an emphasis on the long bone in your lower torso by doing squats and deadlifts not only strengthens the bones but also makes you stronger as well in your abs, legs, lower back, and shoulders.

Somehow, I got off track a bit from the link between gardening and your bone health. Recall earlier on when mention was made of the connection between load bearing exercise and bone health – it was in the previous paragraph and earlier still of calcium supplements.

It just so happens that gardening with all the stooping, squatting, lifting, walking and carrying stuff around in the sun is great for your bone health because the sunlight provides bone building vitamin D. and the rest of the movements support the process of building stronger bones.

There is a caution that needs to be said here and that is to use sunscreen if you are going to be outside longer than fifteen minutes. This is particularly important if you are out there between 1000 and 1400 hours.

250313 Exercise-good for your bones

Exercise-good for your bones

After looking at the FRAX and maybe scaring yourself into doing something useful for your body when it comes to taking care of your bone health here are a few guidelines for starting an exercise program.

To begin with, exercising for at least a half an hour a day with weight bearing activities such as walking, jogging, skipping rope, running, or the mild plyometric rope skipping will improve the health of your bones. The literature recommends higher intensity load bearing such as that encountered when strength training.

When strength training, do so standing up, and not on a bench or a machine. The hips and spine seem to respond better to the upright position rather than the laying down or sitting versions of many popular exercises. A different neurological signal is sent to the bones when lying down as when compared to standing up.

Strength training exercise places a mechanical load on the bones and muscles. This in turn sends chemical signals to the osteocytes. These are cells within the bones that used to be osteoblasts, the bone forming cells that have been stuck within the bone itself. It is now thought that these trapped osteocytes have little tentacles that touch one another, thereby communicating amongst themselves that they need to begin building new bone tissues.

Therefore, when you are squatting with a bar on your shoulder or holding heavy dumbbells in each hand you are not only loading and making your muscles stronger, you are also strengthening your bones. When your muscles are strong, they exert a heavier pull on the areas of attachment to the bones and this in turn makes the bones even stronger.

Jogging, skipping rope and running all put at least your bodyweight on the joints and muscles as you do the exercise. This in turn makes the muscles stronger which contributes to denser and healthier bone structures.

220313 Assessing your risk of a bone fracture over the next ten years

Assessing your risk of a bone fracture over the next ten years

The World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases, University of Sheffield, UK http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/FRAX/ (1) has developed a calculator that helps estimate your risks are of a bone fracture over the next ten years. FRAX, an acronym, of the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool that doctors are encouraged to use when prescribing medicine for their patients with a bone disease, either in its infancy such as osteopenia or full ranges of osteoporosis.

The FRAX guide takes into consideration the following when doing the calculations:

Age
Gender
Weight (2)
Height (3)
Any previous fractures
Prior hip fractures
Smoking or nonsmoking status
The use of glucocorticoids such as prednisolone for over three months
Whether or not the person had rheumatoid arthritis
Secondary osteoporosis, i.e. menopause before turning 45 years of age or type two diabetes uses alcohol more than three times a day

Femoral neck bone mineral density

As one may see, this is a fairly thorough list of items the doctors look at to help guide them in their decision as to whether they should consider using medication or not in the treatment of an individual’s bone health.

For example, if the risk of a hip fracture is at least three percent or a bone fracture is at twenty percent or greater over the next ten years then the NOF recommends prescribing medication to slow down or stop the continuation of the disease. On a good note, according to the NOF, most men and women won’t enter these danger areas until they are in their seventies.

Take a moment to look the site over and see how you fair. If you are in the danger zones talk to your doctor. Did you notice the Body Mass Index (BMI) listing just above the end result number? What number showed up?

For your information, here are the current recommendations as to the accepted BMI for good health. Warning, The BMI is not a useful tool if you are an active person with more than usual muscular development.

BMI Categories:

Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Ponder the information here and decide for yourself whether you need to be seeing a doctor about your risk of a bone fracture.

[1] The FRAX® tool has been developed by WHO to evaluate fracture risk of patients. It is based on individual patient models that integrate the risks associated with clinical risk factors as well as bone mineral density (BMD) at the femoral neck.

The FRAX® models have been developed from studying population-based cohorts from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. In their most sophisticated form, the FRAX® tool is computer-driven and is available on this site. Several simplified paper versions, based on the number of risk factors are also available, and can be downloaded for office use.

The FRAX® algorithms give the 10-year probability of fracture. The output is a 10-year probability of hip fracture and the 10-year probability of a major osteoporotic fracture (clinical spine, forearm, hip or shoulder fracture).

[1] To convert your bodyweight, in pounds, to kilograms http://www.onlineconversion.com/weight_common.htm

[1] to convert inches to centimeters or vice versa, here is the site that will convert inches to centimeters: http://www.onlineconversion.com/length_common.htm

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