I continue to learn each and every day as a healthcare provider. Recently, my own 73-year-old dad fell and broke his hip. It is a humbling place to be as a daughter and a healthcare provider who focuses on spine and bone health.
I am somewhat ashamed at the denial I have about my parents getting older, and the fact it never crossed my mind that my Dad (strong as an ox, indestructible frame of a man) could break his hip. Mind you, my mother shattered her wrist a few years ago but it was a traumatic fall/accident. I was in denial then too. I didn’t accept until recently that I have probably done a terrible disservice to not only my parents but also, to my patients and my own dedication to my bone health.
My main focus as a Chiropractor and a Functional Medicine provider is highly focused on prevention. Prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. I also work to optimize thyroid and hormone health BEFORE hormones and thyroid become so out of whack that medication needs to be considered. I’ve appreciated our preventative mindset as the more we aim to optimize our blood work and biomarkers, it lays the groundwork for the incredible quality of life and longevity.
Now, I am adding BONE health to that area of emphasis and care for my patients.
I have been humbled by how much and how little I have been at expressing the importance of protecting and investing in your bone health SOONER rather than later. So, by nature with regards to helping my dad in his recovery, I revisited bone health and what I SHOULD have been working with my Dad (and should have been with my mom).
Why is it so important?
In patients over the age of 65 who fall and break a hip, the mortality in the next 12 months increased by 30-40%! Meaning, for every 10 patients over the age of 65, who break their hip falling…3-4 of them will die in the next 12 months. That’s alarming and sobering.
I have confidence because my Dad will now be highly annoyed by me focusing on how to not be a victim to that statistic but use it as a motivator for recovery, and rehab as a result of this fall. 😉
I also am thankful to consider this now for my own health, my kids’ health, and my patient’s health. I will take each lesson I am humbled by I can get to learn and improve how I care and treat for optimal health. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but due to menopause and hormone decline in women, it does affect more women than men.
Some refreshers of terminology with regards to aging bones:
BMD: Bone Mineral Density, a measurement of how much calcium is left in the bones
Osteopenia: Osteopenia is a condition characterized by bone mineral density (BMD) that is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. It is considered a midpoint between normal bone density and osteoporosis. Bone mineral density is a measure of the amount of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones.
Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by weakened and porous bones, resulting in an increased risk of fractures. It occurs when the density and quality of bone are reduced, making the bones more fragile and susceptible to fractures, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Bone mineral density (BMD) is a measurement that reflects the amount of minerals, primarily calcium and phosphorus, contained in a segment of bone. It is a key indicator of bone health and density. BMD is often used in the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Here are some key points about bone mineral density:
BMD is typically measured using a technique called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA). This non-invasive procedure involves a low-dose X-ray to scan specific bones, usually the hip and spine. The DXA scan produces images that show the distribution of mineral content in the bone, and the BMD is then calculated from these images.
T-Score and Z-Score:
The results of a bone density test are often expressed as T-scores and Z-scores.
T-score compares an individual’s BMD to that of a healthy young adult of the same sex. A T-score of -1 and above is considered normal, while scores between -1 and -2.5 indicate osteopenia, and scores below -2.5 suggest osteoporosis.
Z-score compares BMD to the average BMD of individuals of the same age and sex. It is more relevant in certain populations, such as children and premenopausal women.
Bone Health Classification:
Based on the BMD results, bone health can be classified into different categories:
- Normal: T-score above -1
- Osteopenia: T-score between -1 and -2.5
- Osteoporosis: T-score -2.5 and below
Top 5 Recommendations for BONE Health
- Strength Training 4-5x/week (yes, I am talking deadlifts, squats farmer’s carry, lunges)
- Walking with a weighted vest
- Optimizing Hormones (working with a functional medicine provider to test and measure these biomarkers)
- Vit D3 with yearly testing, and levels above 60!
- Calcium Intake as it is a crucial mineral for bone health. Good sources include dairy products and leafy greens!
I encourage you to nerd out over two videos to better understand bone health and HOW early investment into your bone health is best!
This is a 2 min video about my favorite supplement to protect and rebuild bone. This is excellent for those already diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis. This is also excellent to consider for those wanting to prevent OP from occurring in this first place.
This PODCAST is by one of our office favorite GURU’s that we look to as a leader in the Functional Health Care Realm, Dr. Peter Attia.
Thanks for reading and please share. Healthy is Contagious!
*Always consult with your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet, exercise routine, or taking supplements, especially if you have existing health conditions or are on medication. They can provide personalized advice based on your individual health status.