Denton County Living Well Magazine Spring 2015 - Page 50

BACK TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE Procedure Offers Relief for Patients with Fractured Vertebrae Balloon Kyphoplasty Features Numerous Benefits By Jennifer Zahn, MD, MPH You were getting out of bed and suddenly felt a “pop” and an intense amount of pain in your back that nearly leaves you unable to move. Osteoporosis has caused your bones to become so weak and brittle that everyday activities, such as walking, sleeping and getting out of bed, become more difficult than usual. The back pain is caused by small fractures in the spine, also known as vertebral compression fractures (VCF). Most VCFs are caused by osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become brittle and break easily. Osteoporosis, often called the “silent disease” because bone loss occurs without symptoms, threatens approximately 44 million Americans, or 55% of the people 50 years old and older, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Ten million people have the disease and 34 million more are estimated to have the low bone mass that places them at risk for the disease. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly as bones gradually break down, until a bone breaks. These broken bones occur typically in the spine, hip, and wrist. People may not even know they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump or fall causes an injury such as a VCF. A VCF can cause severe back pain. Left untreated, one VCF can lead to multiple fractures that can cause kyphosis – a serious health condition marked by forward curvature of the upper back, commonly called a “dowager’s hump.” This condition can lead to a host of health problems including loss of appetite, sleeping problems, difficulty in breathing, and an increased risk وX]