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The Struggles with Osteoporosis

The struggles with osteoporosis are all too known with Dr. Youssef Eid al-Hawamdeh, a 59-year-old pharmacist, but he can consider himself to be a fortunate man. Despite suffering vertebral fractures in a fall at age 55, he has been able to resume his regular daily routine with no long-term impact on his quality of life. “I will never allow osteoporosis to change my life,” he says.

Unlike many sufferers, Youssef has not gone on to experience further fractures and the terrible impact of what is termed the ‘fracture cascade’. This positive outcome can be attributed in part to the prompt diagnosis and osteoporosis treatment that he received following the accident. Suffering severe pain and bruising, Youssef was immediately admitted to hospital for three days where he underwent extensive testing. Testing revealed that he had suffered a vertebral crush fracture and had bone density loss. After two weeks of bed rest and pain management he was largely able to resume normal activities.

Since the diagnosis, Youssef has strictly adhered to his doctor’s prescribed medication for osteoporosis, which includes calcium and vitamin D supplementation. He is vigilant about his movements — avoids heavy lifting and careful when bending. Yet otherwise, his daily activities have not changed. He still swims regularly, plays with his grandchildren and puts in a full day’s work at the pharmacy. As a practicing Muslim, he is still able to kneel in prayer.

Asked about his risk for osteoporosis, Youssef said, “I do not know how I got this disease.” He reports no family history of osteoporosis or any other risk factors.

One positive effect of the diagnosis was that he shed some extra weight at his doctor’s recommendation and he feels much better today because of that. With a laugh he also notes another benefit – “I didn’t ask for sympathy, but my family makes sure they do not strain me in any way, and I don’t have to help with the washing up.”

Author: Monica Straith, BS

Monica is the PR and Outreach Manager and Fitness Lead at AlgaeCal. She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, and has a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she played varsity soccer for four years. Monica pulls from her experience in athletics and health to contribute to AlgaeCal and has also been featured on myfitnesspal blog, Prevention, and Huffington Post.