Young People Get Osteoporosis Too 

Butterfly1b1  CHANGES IN BODY SHAPEButterfly1b5


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Associated changes in body shape and consequences

KYPHOSIS The "Dowager's hump" caused by vertebral compression fractures is disfiguring. This is the feature of osteoporosis that is identified by most patients. The hump causes difficulty in finding clothes that will fit, let alone look attractive. In severe cases, the ribs contact the iliac crest and movement causes pain.

HEIGHT LOSS The height loss associated with osteoporosis is one of the aspects of the disease that is most distressing to many women. They have trouble reaching high shelves, driving the car, and are at greater risk for airbag injuries.

PROTRUDING ABDOMEN The protruding abdomen which is a result of the kyphosis is an unrecognized aspect of osteoporosis. Women do not realize that the curvature of the spine decreases the abdominal space, and thus the intestines have nowhere to go except forwards. Many women think that they are getting fat, and they go on a diet trying to regain their youthful waistline. If they do successfully lose weight, it will only increase their risk for more osteoporotic fractures. It is important for the physician to explain to the patients that the protruding abdomen is a consequence of kyphosis, and that other women with osteoporosis also really dislike this feature of the disease. Some abdominal strengthening exercises which do not place stress on the back can sometimes be helpful, but the patients must not expect the protruding abdomen to go away. A better approach is to learn to wear fashions that will not emphasize the waistline. (Figure 4)

DECREASED PULMONARY CAPACITY Patients with kyphosis have decreased lung volumes. In severe cases this leads to shortness of breath and pulmonary symptoms of restrictive lung disease.

REFLUX ESOPHAGITIS Patients with kyphosis may develop reflux esophagitis due to the changes in abdominal space. Wearing tight clothing can exacerbate the problem.


Young People Get Osteoporosis Too Organization
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Revised: 03/11/08.