Prevent Spinal Fractures: What You Don't Know about Osteoporosis Can Hurt You

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Osteoporosis causes more spinal fractures than hip fractures every year. As part of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, SpineUniverse.com pushes for prevention by helping people understand the seriousness of spinal fractures.

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Although some fractures can be painless, many do cause intense chronic pain if the bone does not heal or if the nerves are pinched. Multiple spinal fractures can even decrease your lung capacity as your spine curves forward and reduces space for the lungs.

Every year, there are close to 550,000 spinal fractures, compared to around 300,000 hip fractures. That's just the reported number of fractures: because spinal fractures can be painless, some people may not realize that their bones have become so weak that they've cracked. Even though spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis are more common than hip fractures, hips get more hype. SpineUniverse, as part of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, will get the word out about spinal fractures. As an authoritative website for back pain, SpineUniverse has expanded their osteoporosis information, working toward helping more people understand the danger of spinal fractures.

For the aging American population, osteoporosis and spinal fractures should be a major concern. Baby Boomer women should be especially vigilant because even the youngest Boomers are now approaching menopause--a time when a woman's risk of spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis dramatically increases.

"Spinal fractures from osteoporosis are particularly dangerous because they can affect your breathing, your mobility, and even irritate or damage the spinal cord or nerves," explains Dr. Isador Lieberman, Chairman of the Spine Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida. "Although some fractures can be painless, many do cause intense chronic pain if the bone does not heal or if the nerves are pinched. Multiple spinal fractures can even decrease your lung capacity as your spine curves forward and reduces space for the lungs."

Osteoporosis-induced spinal fractures come with a cost, of course: it's estimated that fractures requiring hospitalization cost about $10,000 each in just the first year. That's the cost for hospitals to provide care and follow-up, and with so many spinal fractures a year, costs quickly add up.

Osteoporosis is a disease that specifically affects your bone density--how strong your bones are. It literally means "porous bones". Even healthy bones have holes in them as part of their intricate honeycomb-like design. But for people with osteoporosis, their bones have bigger holes, making them weaker and more prone to breaking. Osteoporosis is most often seen in older people, but it can occur in younger people as well. Women, especially post-menopausal women, are the most susceptible to developing osteoporosis, but that doesn't mean that men can't get it, too. It's estimated that 80% of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis are women, which means that 2 million men are living with osteoporosis.

Fortunately, osteoporosis and related spinal fractures are preventable. SpineUniverse.com offers extensive, thorough articles on osteoporosis in the spine. The following links will help patients understand what they can do about osteoporosis:

About SpineUniverse
SpineUniverse, the most-visited spine-focused site on the web, provides online and offline resources for both patients and spine professionals. SpineUniverse.com helps patients and their families understand their back or neck problems with clear, straightforward explanations about what causes spinal problems and how they can be treated. SpineUniverse.com/professional features an industry-leading library of patient case studies and education resources. Relying on an 80 member Editorial Board of leading spine experts, SpineUniverse ensures that all information presented is trustworthy and of the highest quality.

For more information, please visit http://www.spineuniverse.com.

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Ethan Ash
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