Fit and Fabulous Over 40


Sleeping Pills Boost Danger of Falls, Fractures in Older Users

Sleeping Pills Boost Danger of Falls, Fractures in Older Users
May 11
10:09 2017

As many women get older, they begin to experience one of the very few negatives of child bearing. It’s a condition that takes years to develop and can prove deadly if one is not careful.

I’m speaking of osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

“Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.”

“Osteoporosis means ‘porous bone.’ Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break. If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone density test.”

When women are pregnant, it’s common for her body to draw calcium from her own bones to aid in the development of baby growing in her woman. If the mom does not take a proper calcium supplement or eat calcium rich foods, they could end up with a permanent loss of calcium and bone density, making her own bones weaker, brittle and more subject to fractures.

My mother-in-law suffered from severe osteoporosis. She ate a diet that was low in calcium. She ended up losing about six inches in height due to the effects of her osteoporosis. According to her doctor, she had several ribs that were fractured just from sneezing and due to her loss of bone density, they never healed. The loss of height due to her spine compressing in on itself, caused her esophagus to fold back and forth, making it impossible for her to swallow anything. Even a drink of water or tea would cause her to start choking. She spent the last few years of her life with a feeding tube that was inserted through her side and into her stomach. She lived on liquids, like Ensure, that were poured into a large feeding syringe and then forced through the feeding tube and into her stomach. Then came the day when she lost her balance from just turning around and she fell, fracturing her hip. She had surgery to repair the hip, but a few days later, while still in the hospital, her heart just gave out and she passed away. There is no doubt that the osteoporosis that ravaged her small body made her last decade a very painful and uncomfortable decade. Death was a blessing that ended her agony.

Another problem that face many women as they get past the ages of 40 and 50 is they also begin having problems sleeping. Many turn to over-the-counter sleeping pills while others turn to their doctors for prescription sleep aids.

While the sleeping pills and aids help provide a better restful night’s sleep, they may also pose a danger to many women. According to a recent report:

“Falls and resulting hip fractures can prove disabling and even fatal for seniors. And new research suggests the risk of hip fractures rises soon after an older person is prescribed a sleeping pill.”

“Specifically, older people are at greater risk for hip fractures for two weeks after they start taking prescription sleeping pills. Those pills include benzodiazepines such as Valium or Ativan, and newer ‘Z-drug’ alternatives such as Ambien, Sonata or Lunesta.”

“Even though Z-drugs are often prescribed to help people sleep, ‘there is no evidence that they are a safer alternative to benzodiazepines in relation to hip fracture risk,’ said study lead author Dr. Ben Carter, of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and the Institute of Psychiatry, in the United Kingdom.”

“‘Our study shows that both appear to significantly increase the risk of hip fracture when newly prescribed by doctors,’ he said in a university news release.”

Dr. Allen Mensch added:

“These hip fractures resulted in the mortality of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of these patients with permanent disability in a significant number of survivors.”

The bottom line is for all you ladies out there to make sure you eat a calcium rich diet or take the right kind of calcium supplements. If there is any chance that you could develop osteoporosis, make sure you have a bone scan done on a regular basis. Try adding some type of resistance or weight lifting exercises to your daily routine. Studies have shown that lifting weights or regular resistance type exercise helps to strengthen and improve bone density and ward off the effects of osteoporosis. Finally, be very careful if you use a sleeping pill or other sleeping aid as they could leave you groggy or unsteady enough to cause you to fall and break something you don’t want broken.


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