What Women Need To Know About Spinal Fractures - Senior Alert Medical

What Women Need To Know About Spinal Fractures

by Medical Care Alert · 0 comments

When you think of women’s health issues, spinal fractures probably don’t come to mind.

But they should. These common fractures can not only be disfiguring, but deadly.

Spinal fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture; over 900,000 spinal fractures occur every year in the United States alone, according to industry estimates and research. They occur more often than hip fractures in any one year. They lead to falls in the home, and also increase the risk of death. Unlike a hip fracture, the risk of death following a spinal fracture continues to increase progressively, so it is important to treat spinal fractures soon after they occur. Sadly, only about one third of these fractures ever receive medical attention.

The main cause of spinal fractures is osteoporosis, which silently robs you of the density in your vertebrae – bones we often take for granted. Think of the vertebrae in your spine as a stack of square building blocks with mesh interiors. Osteoporosis causes the mesh architecture inside the blocks to deteriorate, eventually causing micro-fractures. As micro-fractures accumulate, the blocks become weaker and less able to resist the stresses we expect them to handle. Many times, what seems like very minor stress can cause fractures and the vertebrae to collapse, which causes the vertebrae to become compressed. You may notice you are getting shorter, and gradually you will notice a curving forward of your spine. This is called kyphosis.

Besides loss of height, some other changes occurring in your body might be due to spinal fractures. Do your clothes not quite fit right? Are you developing a “tummy” that you never had? Do you eat less because you get full so fast? Are you short of breath from small exertions?

With spinal fractures, what was once a nice sturdy compartment for your internal organs gradually becomes smaller and smaller, compressing your stomach, lungs and digestive tract. The compression keeps your lungs from expanding fully, makes your heart work harder and your entire digestive track is pushed forward between your ribs and hips.

Spinal fractures can occur spontaneously or from the minimal stress of day-to-day activities. Sometimes there is no pain and the fracture goes unnoticed, but sometimes there is extreme pain.  See your doctor and ask about your risk for osteoporosis or other bone issues.

— Article Courtesy of ARAcontent

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