Understanding Parkinson's Disease
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Persistent tremors are just one symptom of Parkinson's Disease. Understand Parkinson's Disease better by watching this video about its risk factors, symptoms and treatments.
Transcript: Is that persistent tremor just a normal sign of aging, or could it be something more serious?... Could...
Is that persistent tremor just a normal sign of aging, or could it be something more serious?... Could it be Parkinson's disease? More than 1.5 million Americans suffer from the degenerative movement disorder known as Parkinson's disease. Although the disease is currently incurable, it is not fatal. Parkinson's primarily affects the elderly, with almost all diagnosis' being made after the age of 60. In fact, just 15 percent of patients experience Parkinson's symptoms before age 50. Parkinson's disease is not new. In fact, it has been around for centuries. The symptoms of Parkinson's were first described in ancient Indian and Chinese texts, where the recommended treatment was a series of herbal preparations. The disorder was formally recognized in 1817, when British physician James Parkinson published an essay cataloging the symptoms. He called the disease "paralysis agitans," but fellow doctors soon coined the disease Parkinson's. Today, scientists understand that Parkinson's disease results, in part, from a shortage of the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine stimulates receptors in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that controls motor functions and emotions. Normal brain stimulation results in good nerve cell function, and normal movements. In people with Parkinson's, however, 70 percent or more of these dopamine cells have died, reducing the amount of dopamine in the system. As a result, movement becomes very difficult. Classic Parkinson's symptoms include tremors, difficulty balancing, stiff limbs and slower movements. Some patients experience decreased facial movement, including trouble blinking and swallowing. The cause of Parkinson's is unknown, although scientists do suspect both genetics and exposure to environmental toxins may play a role. In rare cases, head trauma, stroke or prescription antipsychotic medications may also contribute to the onset of symptoms. Although Parkinson's disease is progressive, people who have it can still lead fulfilling, productive lives. Just look at three-time World Heavyweight Champion, Muhammad Ali. Since his diagnosis in the mid 1980s, Ali has written a book, started a line of healthy snack food and traveled the world for humanitarian aid projects. Actor Michael J. Fox hasn't let Parkinson's get in the way of his career, either, starring in more than 20 feature films and television series since he began experiencing symptoms in the early 1990s. The actor is also an advocate for people with the disease, and has created The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Although the degenerative disease known as Parkinson's is not curable, there are a number of treatments that can help sufferers lead healthy lives. So please...talk to your doctor if you have concerns about Parkinson'sMore »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Aren't Alzheimer's and dementia the same thing? Not quite. Learn how they are two different conditions.
Transcript: Dementia and Alzheimer's. Both result in a loss of cognitive function, so many people assume that they're...
Dementia and Alzheimer's. Both result in a loss of cognitive function, so many people assume that they're DIFFERENT names for the SAME disease. In fact, dementia is a GENERAL description of cognitive problems such as memory loss, the inability to reason, communication problems, paranoia, and personality changes. Dementia can be caused by MANY different conditions or disorders. Alzheimer's is the most common TYPE of dementia, accounting for 50 to 70 percent of all cases. It's a degenerative brain disease that is characterized by the formation of what are called amyloid plaques and nerve fiber tangles. These clumps of runaway proteins interfere with the transmission of information from nerve to nerve. Over time, some areas of the brain shrink and other areas, where there is cerebrospinal fluid, enlarge. Other types of dementia include multi-infarct dementia-which is triggered by mini-strokes, and dementia associated with circulatory problems such as atherosclerosis. Dementia can also be triggered by infections that affect the central nervous system such as HIV or Parkinson's, chronic drug or alcohol use, depression, and complications from an injury. These types of dementia strike a diverse range of people, while Alzheimer's most often occurs in those over the age of 60. In fact 45% of people 85 or older develop Alzheimer's. It is possible to have more than one form of dementia, and Alzheimer's and vascular dementia are frequently co-conditions. To learn more about Alzheimer's disease, watch the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease can include tremors. Learn about other symptoms in this video.
Transcript: In 1817, James Parkinson used the words "shaking palsy" to describe the symptoms of the disease that...
In 1817, James Parkinson used the words "shaking palsy" to describe the symptoms of the disease that was eventually named after him. The TREMORS of the hands, ARMS, legs, JAW and face that he described are perhaps the most obvious symptoms, but as he noticed, they're NOT the only ones. This motor disorder has THREE other primary symptoms: Slowness of movement, known as bradykinesia, stiffness of the limbs and torso, and diminished balance and coordination. And loss of motor function becomes worse over time as nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter DOPAMINE, which controls movement, gradually degenerate. This slow erosion of muscle control causes people with Parkinson's to experience SECONDARY symptoms such as difficulty speaking, swallowing or chewing, urinary problems, cognitive issues, sleep disruptions, and depression and anxiety. Learn more about Parkinson's disease by watching the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-08-10 | Tags »
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You can still have joyful sex with joint pain. Follow along with this video to find out how.
Transcript: Luckily, it's easy to find new positions that put less strain on achy joints, so your sex life stays...
Luckily, it's easy to find new positions that put less strain on achy joints, so your sex life stays steamy! If movement causes you pain, ask your partner to provide most of the acrobatics. You may prefer a position that lets you move away if you suddenly experience joint discomfort. When a man has hip or knee problems, he can lie down on his back with pillows for support. His partner can then support her weight on her elbows and/or knees. When a woman has hip or knee pain, both of you can lie down on your sides, with a pillow between the woman's knees. The man should then enter from behind. The goal is to work together for your mutual pleasure and comfort. Learning what your partner enjoys will give you confidence that you can safely please your mate!More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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Your parents need you in their old age more than they do at any other point in time. Caring for seniors requires understanding and patience. To learn more check out this video.
Transcript: After a lifetime of caring for us, sometimes our parents need us to take care of them. Dr. Mom is a...
After a lifetime of caring for us, sometimes our parents need us to take care of them. Dr. Mom is a physician and she's also had to care for an elderly parent. Here are three tips for taking care of an aging parent or loved one. The first thing you need to consider with an aging parent is that the parent has all of his or her finances in order, that the living will is written, that you know exactly what your father or mother wants done in case of emergencies. A living will, an advanced directive, a medical power of attorney are all valuable devices. Once that hurdle is jumped, you can then get on to the very important piece of making sure that your parent is in a familiar social environment, and a place where their dignity and independence will be respected for as long as possible. One of the most important things to remember is that your parent is still a social being and still has feelings, even when they can't express exactly how feeling it's important to be sure that they are in a place where they get respect and dignity, where people talk to them, where people interact with them, where they actually have people who touch them, and hold them, and take them to other rooms and to social areas, so that they can see other people and be part of an all encompassing environment.As a caregiver, you can get really, really tired, it's very important that you take care of yourself, that means, perhaps, getting someone in to help you. It also might mean that sometimes some of the more intimate chores, you might want to hire somebody for, because that preserves your relationship with the mother or father you remember before the illness struck.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Understanding arthritis can help you manage the painful condition. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: More than 66 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, and many don't even know why they're...
More than 66 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, and many don't even know why they're experiencing pain. So what exactly is arthritis? Arthritis is a disease characterized by pain, swelling or stiffness in the joints. There are more than 100 types of this disease, which is one of the oldest and most chronic in the world. To understand how arthritis works, let's take a look at the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is made up of 650 muscles and 206 bones which support the body. The places where bones meet and movement takes place are called joints. Arthritis arises when, for various reasons, the joints stop working properly. The different types of arthritis are classified by the way in which the joint fails to function. Two of the most common joint failures result in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects bones begins to wear away. The raw area that results causes bone to rub painfully on bone. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, happens when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue, resulting in joint inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. This means it is characterized by long periods where a sufferer feels fine, interspersed with painful flare-ups. In contrast, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which means it becomes steadily worse over time. Therefore, osteoarthritis tends to be more common among the elderly. The disease also occurs more frequently in women. The definitive cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown, although hereditary factors are suspected. Osteoarthritis, though, can be caused by a variety of factors, including obesity. People who are overweight put extra pressure on their hips, knees and other weight-bearing joints. This can contribute to the wearing away of vital joint cartilage. Other causes of osteoarthritis include sports-related injuries and physical trauma, like car accidents. Occupations that depend on heavy physical labor are another common culprit. Osteoarthritis Is more common in older women due to a shortage estrogen. No matter the classification, arthritis usually causes pain or swelling in the joints. Another frequently reported symptom is stiffness in the joints following after periods of inactivity, or in the morning. People who have rheumatoid arthritis may also feel generally ill and experience flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever and lack of appetite. Usually, the pain of rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical, meaning that joints are inflamed on both sides of the body. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, usually occurs on only one side of the body. For example, a sufferer may experience pain in their right hip, but not their left. Although there is currently no cure for arthritis, a number of options can help ease painful symptoms. For more information, check out my book, Arthritis RX, or the other videos in this series. And remember, if you think you may have arthritis, please see a doctor immediately.More »
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Are you suffering from arthritis? This condition can be extremely painful but with the help of some treatments you can manage it. Learn about arthritis pain treatment in this video.
Transcript: The pain suffered by those with arthritis can be debilitating. Watch this video to learn about non-invasive...
The pain suffered by those with arthritis can be debilitating. Watch this video to learn about non-invasive methods for treating arthritis pain. There is no cure for the chronic pain that is characteristic of arthritis, but there is good news for the 30 percent of Americans who suffer from the disease. There are a number of treatments available that can help to minimize joint discomfort immediately. A simple way to relieve chronic arthritis pain is with over-the-counter-medications. Some commonly available OTCs for pain include aspirin, Advil, Tylenol and Aleve. Because Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Advil, combines pain-relief with anti-inflammatory action, it may be the preferred choice for arthritis pain. Anti-inf should be used sparingly to avoid complications like stomach ulcers and kidney failure particularly in diabetics. Your best bet is liquid gel capsules, which absorb more readily into the blood stream. Another great way to soothe aching joints is to apply a liniment like Tiger Balm or BENGAY to painful areas. If you can, have someone else apply the cream for you-a gentle rubdown can be soothing as well! Many people who suffer from arthritis pain find that a heat and ice treatment works wonders. To try this therapy at home, begin by applying ice to new pain or a recent injury. Get the maximum benefit from ice by applying it to painful areas two or three times a day for fifteen minutes at a time. Repeat this treatment for twenty-four hours, always removing ice after fifteen minutes, as it reaches maximum efficacy at that point. Unlike ice, warmth can continue to provide benefit over time. After twenty-four hours of ice treatments, apply moist heat to an injury, either in the shower or with a heating pad, for up to thirty minutes. After forty-eight hours, begin using heat and ice in sequence. As a general rule, apply heat in the morning and before physical activity. Switch to ice in the evening and after exercise. A great, natural way to dull arthritis pain is by focusing on breathing in a slow, controlled rhythm. Start by inhaling deeply through your nose, holding your breath for three counts. Exhale fully by contracting your stomach. Continue breathing this way for at least three minutes. It may seem simple, but proper breathing can proved fast, effective pain relief. That's because controlled breath shifts the mind's attention away from pain and the body's response to it. You can increase the benefit of your breathing exercises by engaging in visual imagery. Try imagining your breath as a wave of healing light. Envision the light flowing into your head and down your spine, and then outward to the rest of your body. This technique will calm you and help you focus on healing. Although there is currently no cure for arthritis, these tips can make a world of difference in the chronic pain caused by the disease. For information on making the healthy changes that can lead to a pain-free life, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Arthritis can be painful, but certain lifestyle changes can go a long way toward preventing arthritis pain. Learn what you can do, here.
Transcript: Osteoarthritis affects 25 million Americans, but there's good news for people suffering from the condition....
Osteoarthritis affects 25 million Americans, but there's good news for people suffering from the condition. A few lifestyle changes can help people with arthritis live with significantly less pain. For people with osteoarthritis, chronic pain can be a part of everyday life. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are treatments that can help. In my book, Arthritis RX, I discuss a set of guidelines which can reduce arthritis pain by up to 43 percent. There are three elements to the program. The first component is a basic exercise regimen that strengthens the body's core muscles. The second part recommends daily nutritional supplements to ease inflammation. Finally, the plan illustrates the basics of an anti-inflammatory diet. A host of powerful nutrients have been proven to combat the inflammation that can lead to arthritis pain. You can get the benefit of these nutrients by supplementing your diet with a mixture of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and ginger. For the best results, take 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine, 1,200 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate and 510 milligrams of ginger a day. Each of these supplements is available at your local vitamin store. Another way to cut back on inflammation is to make some selective dietary changes. By eating foods that discourage the body from becoming inflamed, you can help reduce discomfort. The typical American diet is very high in processed sugars, salt and saturated fats. Food choices like this can lead to obesity and may result in serious inflammation! Starting an anti-inflammatory diet doesn't have to mean giving up delicious foods. Cold-water fish like salmon and tuna, fresh fruits, whole grains and dark, leafy vegetables are all tasty choices. For best results, avoid saturated omega-6 fatty acids, which are in red meat, and fast food. These foods may taste good now, but they really aren't worth the arthritis pain later! A 15-minute set of pilates and yoga exercises can also be extremely beneficial for people with arthritis. These gentle movements should be completed three times a week both help relieve existing discomfort, and to prevent new pain from developing. Let's look at an example of a yoga movement you can try at home. This is a warm-up stretch called Sun Salutation Lying Down. Lie flat on your back, with legs straight and arms at your sides, and look up at the ceiling. Inhale as you sweep your arms out to point above your head. As you exhale, sweep your arms back down. Even though osteoarthritis is currently without a cure, every person living with the condition can make the choice to engage in positive life changes like these, which will alleviate pain and discourage it from returning. Check out other content on this site for examples of exercises you can do to help ease your arthritis pain.And remember, never begin an exercise, diet or nutritional supplement program without first talking to a health care professional.More »
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Diagnosing arthritis early will help you to control it down the road. Watch this video to learn how ostearthritis is diagnosed.
Transcript: One in seven Americans will be diagnosed with some form of arthritis during their lifetime. How does...
One in seven Americans will be diagnosed with some form of arthritis during their lifetime. How does this diagnosis take place? A diagnosis of arthritis usually occurs following a thorough medical history, possibly physical examination and an imaging procedure, like an X-ray.If you're experiencing symptoms of arthritis-like pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints-make an appointment with your doctor. When you arrive for your appointment, your doctor will begin by taking a detailed medical history. Come prepared to answer questions about illnesses in your family, medications you're currently taking, and the duration, intensity and location of your pain. Next, your doctor will complete a detailed physical examination of your affected joints, looking for swelling, redness, warmth, tender points and skin rashes. Following the examination, your doctor may order X-rays to confirm a diagnosis of arthritis. An X-ray takes less than 15 minutes. X-rays may help confirm a diagnosis of arthritis and provide clues as to which type of the disease you may have. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, has distinct signs, including: A narrowing of the joint, bony spurs at the joint's margin, and a one-sided distribution of joint irregularities. A hereditary form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, exhibits different X-ray signs. A person with this type of arthritis may experience a loss of bone calcium or joint irregularities on both sides of the body. Some doctors may bypass X-rays in favor of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. This procedure involves using a large magnet and radio waves to produce a clear picture of the body's interior. An MRI is painless and usually lasts about an hour. In addition to these imaging techniques, blood tests can be helpful in diagnosing certain kinds of arthritis. For example, the majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis will have rheumatoid factor antibodies, or RF antibodies in their blood. Your rheumatologist may choose to determine the type of arthritis you have with a joint aspiration procedure if necessary. During a joint aspiration, a needle is inserted into the joint to withdraw a small amount of synovial, or joint, fluid. The synovial fluid in an osteoarthritis joint is usually clear, while a rheumatoid arthritis joint's fluid will be cloudy. There is currently no cure for arthritis, so if you are diagnosed with it, your doctor will discuss various options for easing your pain and managing the disease. If you are experiencing pain, swelling or stiffness in any of your joints, make an appointment to see your physician. Doing so is the first step on the road to better health! For more on arthritis, check out my book, Arthritis RX.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Osteoporosis is a condition that affects millions of people in the US. Learn more about osteoporosis by watching this video.
Transcript: In America, 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis. They're our grandparents, teachers, and friends,...
In America, 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis. They're our grandparents, teachers, and friends, yet many of us don't even know what osteoporosis is! Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens bones, making people more susceptible to fractures. To understand this condition, it helps to look at the role bones play in a healthy body. Bones are composed primarily of calcium. In fact, 99 percent of the calcium that's present in the body is found in bones. However, calcium is also necessary for other bodily functions, like blood vessel contractions. When sources in the blood run low, a normal process called resorption begins. Resorption "steals" calcium from bones to be recycled for use in other parts of the body. During resorption, scavenger cells with saw-toothed membranes, called osteoclasts, attach to bone surfaces. There, they tunnel into bone and regurgitate calcium into the bloodstream for use by other body parts. Resorption is complemented by a normal process called formation. During formation, construction cells, or osteoblasts, move into the tunnels left by osteoclasts and release strands of collagen into the holes, effectively filling them. So how does this relate to osteoporosis? It's simple: Bone weakening and loss occurs when the osteoblasts cannot keep up with the osteoclasts. Put another way, over time, the bone-breaking cells continue about their business while the bone-building cells slow down. The result is bones that are too weak to carry their load, increasing the risk of fractures. The most common form of the disease, primary osteoporosis, is a result of normal bodily changes, like menopause or aging. Type 1 primary osteoporosis occurs in women in the several years prior to, during, and following menopause. During this time, decline of estrogen levels contribute to type 1 osteoporosis. Type 2 primary osteoporosis results from the normal, cumulative effects of aging. This gradual loss of bone density doesn't usually show up until after the age of 75. The other form of osteoporosis, secondary osteoporosis, results from certain prescription medications or medical conditions. Medical conditions like anorexia, alcoholism and type 1 diabetes can all lead to the development of secondary osteoporosis. Meanwhile, medications like corticosteroids, thyroid hormones and chemotherapy drugs also increase the risk of this disease. Although osteoporosis can occur from a variety of factors, its effects are the same: Weakened bones that often break easily. If you have concerns about osteoporosis, please see your doctor,More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Millions of people suffer from osteoporosis without even realizing it, but the consequences of osteoporosis may even include permanent disability. Watch this video for more information.
Transcript: Although millions of people have osteoporosis, most are not aware how the complications of the disease...
Although millions of people have osteoporosis, most are not aware how the complications of the disease can affect them, often for life. People who have the weak, thin bones characteristic of osteoporosis often suffer at least one serious break, or bone fracture. While a broken bone may sound straightforward, the aftermath can be anything but! Because most people with osteoporosis are over the age of 50, healing from a broken bone is more difficult. In fact, two thirds of those who suffer fractures never regain full mobility. Osteoporosis-related fractures can occur anywhere, but the hips, wrists and vertebrae, or spine, are most often affected. The most common fracture suffered by people with osteoporosis is in the spinal area. Vertebrae fractures are usually not the result of a traumatic accident. Rather, the normal acts of everyday life, like coughing or bending over, often cause these breaks. Unlike other fractures, where a bone snaps, vertebral fractures usually manifest as a crumpling, or compression, of the spine. For this reason, they do not usually cause severe, or any, pain. Because discomfort is slight, or feels like normal back pain, spinal fractures are often not diagnosed until posture begins to stoop, and height is gradually lost. Fractures in the vertebrae can also cause a gradual rounding of the back, known as dowager's hump. Most people with vertebral fractures have more than one, and as the number increases, so do the problems. The abdominal muscles begin to sag, and the space between the ribs and the pelvis closes. This can lead to difficulty breathing, chronic heartburn and digestive problems. The most serious fractures generally occur in the hip. About one in five osteoporosis-related fractures are in this region. At best, a hip fracture can result in a temporary loss of mobility and confinement to a wheelchair or bed. More often, the effects are longer lasting. At least two thirds of people who suffer hip fractures have difficulty with everyday tasks, like standing up on their own or dressing themselves. Due to this decreased mobility, many people with a hip fracture end up needing home health care, or a move to an assisted living facility. Scarily, statistics show that almost 25 percent of osteoporosis patients who suffer hip fractures will die within a year of their injury, usually from complications like blood clots or pneumonia. Wrist fractures, which usually occur when a person tries to absorb the force of a fall, are the most common breaks. The most common wrist fracture, Colles' fracture, occurs when the force of impact snaps the end of the radius bone, which runs from the elbow to the thumb. After a wrist fracture, a cast or splint is applied and the bone is allowed to heal. Usually, broken wrists provide no further complications. Because osteoporosis has no symptoms, it is usually not diagnosed until after a fracture occurs. For this reason, it is particularly important to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis.More »
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There are certain tests that can be used for diagnosing osteoporosis. Watch our video to learn about these tests and find out which gender is more likely to get osteoporosis.
Transcript: Today, ten million Americans have osteoporosis and another 34 million exhibit the early stages of the...
Today, ten million Americans have osteoporosis and another 34 million exhibit the early stages of the condition. How are these people diagnosed. Osteoporosis is a condition where a person has reduced bone density, which is the amount of bone present in the skeletal structure. Most methods of diagnosing the condition do so by measuring bone density. Bone density grows during childhood and adolescence, reaching its peak mass around age 25. At this point, density remains steady for about ten years. After age 35, bone density will gradually drop at the rate of .3 to .5 percent each year. This is a normal part of the aging process and not the same as osteoporosis. One way to diagnosis osteoporosis is with a routine x-ray, since the bones in someone with the condition appear much thinner than healthy bones. Unfortunately, because x-rays can only detect large changes in bone density, they are not effective for diagnosing early-stage osteoporosis. A better way to diagnose the condition is with a more advanced scan known as a DXA. This short procedure uses a very small amount of radiation to measure the bone density of the hip and spine. The bone density of the patient is then compared to that of average young adults of the same sex and race who have peak, healthy bone mass. This comparison is written as a negative number called a T-score. A T-score greater than negative 1 is normal, or the same as a patient who has ideal bone mass. A score between negative one and negative 2.5 is classified as osteopenia, or "pre-osteoporosis," while osteoporosis is a number less than negative 2.5. Because it is impractical to test everyone for osteoporosis, doctors only perform DXAs on people with specific risk factors. The biggest risk factor for developing osteoporosis is being female. About 80 percent of people with the disease are women, largely due to the decrease in estrogen that occurs post-menopause. Women also have smaller skeletons, and experience bone loss earlier in life than men do. Advanced age is a second major risk factor. This is because bone mass begins decreasing more rapidly after age 65. As with many diseases, genetics play a role, too. A family history of osteoporosis and broken bones increases risk by up to fifty percent. Certain medications, like corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs, can also increase the risk of bone loss.More »
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