Every 45 Seconds Osteoporosis Causes a Spine Fracture

 

While most people associate osteoporosis with hip fractures, the most common fracture caused by osteoporosis actually occurs in the spine.  Over 700,000 spine fractures occur each year in the U.S.  These fractures can be very painful and can have serious long-term consequences. 

               

The first spine fracture changes the alignment of the spine and increases the risk of future fracture 5-fold or more. As more fractures occur, the spine shortens and falls forward, resulting in spinal deformity. Called kyphosis or “dowager’s hump”, the deformity is often seen in the elderly.  The chest and abdomen become compressed making normal activities painful or difficult—walking, eating and sleeping. Normal breathing is also affected by the spinal deformity and puts individuals at increased risk of disease. Many people find that they need to rely more on family and friends. This can lead to clinical anxiety and even depression.

 

Together, the medical problems related to spine fractures potentially lead to decreased activity and additional bone loss, further increasing the risk of future fracture. Every fracture can contribute to a downward spiral of compounding health problems leading to higher death rates.

 

There are treatment options available for spine fractures. Kyphoplasty aims at reducing the amount of collapse and creating a cavity that would be filled with methacrylate.

 

 For more information about osteoporosis and spine fractures, please visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation web site www.nof.org.