Fear of falling
There is a good reason to take the advice of Dr. Gold. Osteoporosis has already been found in 25 million Americans, mainly in women, and it is associated with 1.3 million cases of bone fractures each year, most often it is the fractures of the hands in the wrists, fractures of the femur and spine. For a fracture to occur, no special circumstances are required. The usual movements that you do every day, for example, when you bend over to pet your dog, or reach for a switch, can lead to a fracture of a fragile bone. Evelyn Klein says that she broke both her ankles just while walking without falling or stumbling. “I just felt a stiffening pain in my ankle, which I just had,” she recalls.
“Hip damage has the most severe consequences,” says Dr. Diane Meyer. About 40 percent of older women after a hip fracture are unable to walk without help. Even worse, statistics like 17 percent of hip fractures end in death, most often as a result of complications such as pneumonia or the formation of blood clots in the lungs.
“Fear of falling and breaking another bone turns into a phobia, women refuse to leave the house, says Dr. Maeir. As a result, they drastically reduce their physical activity, which in turn can enhance the process of bone thinning. ”
Evelyn says that she was afraid to leave the house alone, especially after a very frightening incident on the icy path. “Although my stick was with me, I was still very much afraid to slip. With every step my tension grew. I tried to walk on the grass and hold on to the trees that grew along the path. When I reached the corner, I had to step onto the sidewalk to cross the street. At that moment I fell. When I finally got to the house, I was shaking and continued to shake for a few more hours. The idea that I could break a leg or spine terrified me. I immediately felt old and very fragile. ”
FEELING THAT YOU ARE OLD AND HELPFUL
The feelings that Evelyn experienced were common in such situations. “When a diagnosis of osteoporosis is made after a fracture, a woman loses self-confidence,” notes Dr. Gold, who studied the psychological and social consequences of this disease while observing a group of women.
Interpersonal relationships may also be affected. “A woman who has found osteoporosis may look completely healthy,” continues Dr. Gold, but this is not true. When she says to her husband: “George, I shouldn’t lift more than 5 pounds, so take this underwear down,” George will probably answer: “Well, something doesn’t look like I think you look great.” They can look at her as a simulator, which is very far from reality. ”
Dr. Gold says her patients often find it difficult to seek the physical and emotional help they need. One of the women expressed it this way: “I am an independent person, and it’s hard for me to ask for something, especially if it’s so small how to bring products from the store. All my life I did it myself. It's hard to realize that you can no longer live as before. ”
Problems arise with appearance. One of the manifestations of osteoporosis is a decrease in growth due to compression of the bone tissue in the back. The woman looks bent and strangely folded. “Sometimes a woman starts to hunch so much that her rib cage seems to sit right in her pelvis. It becomes almost impossible to find the right clothes. ” Some women eventually have a hump, which, as Dr. Mayer puts it, “is the herald of the onset of old age.”
BACK TO LIFE
Osteoporosis requires some changes in life, but this is not a death sentence, says Dr. Mayer. First of all, you need to learn to put yourself in the first place, which, given the circumstances of life, is not so easy for many women to do.
And, if the observations made by Dr. Gold in her group of patients are indicative, do not expect that without any reminders on your part you will come to the rescue. If you need help, you will have to learn how to ask for it.
It is also important to take care of your own safety. “In most cases, falls occur within the home, so it is necessary to make some simple changes to the home environment, recommends Dr. Mayer. Clean those rugs that can slip. Check the wiring of electrical appliances; they should be removed so that you can not cling to them. Replace linoleum or carpet if it is bent in places. Give up high heels, wear comfortable flat shoes. Drop the pride and use a stick or walking gadget if your gait is unstable. Make handrails in the bathroom, especially at the bath. Take care of good lighting, especially in the toilet, corridors and stairs. ”
Dr. Gold adds that osteoporosis sufferers can be painful to bend over and reach for something; she recommends that pots, pans and other utensils be placed in the kitchen so that it does not have to be done. “The kitchen may not look as neat as you used to, she admits, but the women who followed this advice found that their well-being has improved.”
See also: Estrogen replacement therapy.