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Osteopenia April 2014
April 10, 2014

Let's think about why we are concerned about bone density. After all there should be a reason for our concern, for our making changes in our daily routines.

Fundamentally the whole thing is about preventing fractures. I do not know about you but I had fractured a wrist and then an ankle all before anyone thought of suggesting a dexa scan. (From what I have read that is not too uncommon...or at least it was not some 20 years ago.) .

I keep working for strong bones because I do not want to fracture a hip - often a prelude to death within a year. .

No, this is not scare tactics day. I have always tried to be realistic when dealing with life. And realistically having osteopenia or osteoporosis leaves me at greater risk for fracture if I fall. .

OK...that is the key. "If I fall...". So for me, my fist focus has always been preventing fractures . If I do not bend forward from the waist or if I do not fall, I am far less likely to fracture a matter what else I am doing/not doing about my bone density. .

So again I share a few things:

1. Bending from the hips, not the waist. Not the usual way most people (other than ballet dancers) bend. Try this today. Stand. Keep your back straight. Now bend forward without losing that straight back. How far did you get? Could you pick something off the floor from that position? Could you load a dishwasher, take stuff from a clothes dryer? If not, get a stool and use it for those tasks. NEVER CURVE YOUR BACK when you bend and you are less likely to suffer a 'crush fracture' to your spine. .

2. As soon as you finish reading this newsletter, go into the kitchen and sit in a straight chair. (If you are reading this at the office you may already be in a straight chair - but you want one WITHOUT wheels.)

Now cross your arms in front of your chest and get up from the chair. Able to do it? Good. Do this at least twice a day for the rest of your life and you will have leg strength to prevent falls. .

If you could not do it, start practicing. Do it every day - I often do it at the end of breakfast. In the beginning you may need to sit forward a bit...or rock forward as you rise. Keep the table or something in front of you so you can catch yourself if you being to tip. .

Keep at it. Soon you will be able to rise from anything WITHOUT USING YOUR HANDS. And being able to do this means you are much more likely to recover your balance 'if you tip a bit' and so are less likely to fall. No falls means less chance you will break a hip.


If your children or friends read ads, they may be tempted to buy you a big chair with a lever on the side to help you get out of it. DO NOT LET THEM DO THIS. (Bring it up in a conversation now - explain how dangerous these are to older persons because they encourage weakness etc.


If you really want to impress them (or yourself) reread the material on the web about the program in Japanese homes for the aged. Persons so debilitated that they were in wheel chairs all day were able to get out of those chairs...some began using walkers and some were able to even leave their walkers behind. Why? They began light exercise programs....lifting one pound weights...lifting legs...and eventually doing that with light weights around their ankles (Don't have ankle weights? Make one by adding dried beans to an old stocking and tie it around your ankles and lift while watching TV.)

Really so much is in our grasp

I do not know about you but I have never had a physician suggest that I practice getting up from a chair without using my hands.


I have never had anyone suggest I make or buy a weight vest (By the way the company that makes hyper vest said they are having a sale this month - the link is here.


I have never had a physician show me how to bend from the hips and not round my back.

And then there is practicing balance - simple things - on the web site at

YOU can do these at home or any time you are standing in helps if there is a shopping cart or wall nearby so you have something to grab if you begin to topple. (Yes!)

REMEMBER - THESE ARE FIRST STEPS to preventing fractures. Yes, there is medication and there are supplements - just as there is fire insurance for my home. But not playing with matches while reading my morning paper seems like a more basic step to prevent a house fire. Prevention is most important and for us, preventing falls should be #1.


OK. I am not usually so strong with recommendations.

. I hope this newsletter has charged you up to start or continue your fracture prevention steps. Even 5 minutes day can make all the difference. PLEASE PLEASE JUST DO IT.



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