Aging Options

Straighten up: Your bad posture might force you into a nursing home

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My mom harped on my posture when I was a kid.  There were times when I spent nearly as much time wearing an encyclopedia on my head as I did reading it (I was a weird kid and I loved reading encyclopedias).  My posture, which naturally tended toward stooped shoulders and a secondary tendency to watch the sidewalk rather than the horizon exasperated her to the occasional point of anger.  Considering my grandmother’s dowager’s hump, (medically called Kyphosis) as is so often the case she probably had a point.  A recent article in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences found that posture or in this case bad posture is associated with needing help with activities of daily living (ADL).  The study’s authors found that spinal health is essential to maintaining an independent lifestyle.  Research subjects with the most posture problems were nearly 3.5 times more likely to become dependent for ADLs than those with the least amount of problems.

While you can get Kyphosis at any age, it’s more likely to affect older people than younger people.  Or at least that’s been the case but the generations of adults who now consistently sit in front of a computer for either their jobs or for relaxation often do so using poor posture.  Not all forms of Kyphosis can be prevented.  Scheuermann’s and congenital kyphosis, for instance, are not preventable but are treatable.

However, Kyphosis caused by either osteoporosis or spinal fractures is preventable by keeping your bones strong and healthy which is why regular medical checkups are important prevention steps.  Kyphosis over the long term can lead to physical deformities, damage to internal organs and even breathing problems.  If you are concerned about your posture, don’t wait for your doctor to bring it up.  Make an appointment for recommendations on exercises and healthy eating choices to help strengthen your posture and allow you to continue to be independent for as long as you live.

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