The Aging Musculoskeletal System

A musculoskeletal disorder is a condition where parts of the musculoskeletal system are injured over time. Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. Musculoskeletal pain can be localized in one area or widespread and can be acute or chronic. The most common pain is in the lower back but can also include tendonitis, myalgia (muscle pain), and stress fractures. Injuries are often caused to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.

Injuries can be caused by many things over time but can also be caused by jerking movements, car accidents, fractures, sprains, dislocations, falls, and direct blows to the muscles. Poor posture or prolonged immobilization can also cause musculoskeletal pain. The likely effects on the everyday life of an 84 year old thin, small boned white female is considered based on her early years. One example of a musculoskeletal disorder is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and are more likely to break, due to bone tissues thinning.

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Osteoporosis can occur in men and women but it is most common in white women over the age of 65. Risk factors are: * Gender. Women * Age. The older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis. * Body size. Small, thin women are at greater risk. * Ethnicity. White and Asian women are at highest risk. Black and Hispanic women have a lower risk. * Family history. Osteoporosis tends to run in families. If a family member has osteoporosis or breaks a bone, there is a greater chance that you will too. There are lifestyle risks as well: * Sex hormones.

Low estrogen levels due to missing menstrual periods or to menopause can cause osteoporosis in women. Low testosterone levels can bring on osteoporosis in men. * Anorexia nervosa. This eating disorder can lead to osteoporosis. * Calcium and vitamin D intake. A diet low in calcium and vitamin D makes you more prone to bone loss. * Medication use. Some medicines increase the risk of osteoporosis. * Activity level. Lack of exercise or long-term bed rest can cause weak bones. * Smoking. Cigarettes are bad for bones, heart, and lungs. * Drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol can cause bone loss and broken bones.

You can help prevent this disease and build your bones healthier by changing your lifestyle; exercise (walking, weight lifting, dance, and more), consume more vitamin D and calcium, and do not smoke or drink excessively. Osteoporosis is called the “silent disease” because bone is lost with no signs. You may not know that you have osteoporosis until a strain, bump, or fall causes a bone to break. The everyday living of an 84 year old white woman with small, thin bones is affected by her lifestyle choices, heredity, and exercise. Since the bones become so thin with aging and have low bone density, a minor fall can cause a fracture.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is known as the breakdown of cartilage- the part of the joint that cushions the end of bones and allows movement. The cartilage deteriorates and the bones rub against one another and cause stiffness and pain. OA can also cause damage to ligaments, menisci, and muscles and overtime call for a joint replacement. There are two types of OA; the primary is generally associated with aging and the “wear and tear” of life. The secondary tends to happen in early life, such as an injury or obesity. Osteoarthritis occurs in the knees, hips, and hands most often and can also happen in the shoulders.

If OA affects other joints it might be a result due to injury or unusual physical stress. OA can make it difficult to do daily activities due to pain and stiffness; these activities can include daily activities, your job, and playing sports. In an 84 year old thin white female osteoarthritis can be painful. Stiffness is a symptom of osteoarthritis which causes pain after inactivity of the joint after a period of time. Muscular Atrophy is the wasting or loss of muscle tissue. There are two types of Muscle Atrophy. One is the disuse atrophy from not getting enough physical activity.

This is common in people that sit at work, medical conditions that limit movement, or decreased activity levels which can lead to losing muscle tone. You can start exercising and eating a better well-balanced diet and this atrophy can be reversed. The more serious type of muscle atrophy is neurogenic atrophy. Neurogenic atrophy disease of a nerve that connects to a muscle is when there has been an injury. This will cause the muscle atrophy to occur suddenly. Disuse atrophy will not happen as sudden, it happens over time. Muscle Atrophy can occur with normal aging but can also include the following: * Alcohol-associated myopathy Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) * Burns * Dermatomyositis and polymyositis * Guillain-Barre syndrome * Injury * Long-term corticosteroid therapy * Malnutrition * Motor neuropathy (such as diabetic neuropathy) * Muscular dystrophy * Not moving (immobilization) * Osteoarthritis * Polio * Rheumatoid arthritis * Spinal cord injury * Stroke An 84 year old white woman, thin small boned with muscular atrophy can have pain, walking problems, and limited range of motion which are some of the many systems of the disease. References: Cleveland Clinic. (2009, 12 30).

Musculoskeletal Pan. Retrieved from In Cleveland Clinic: http://my. clevelandclinic. org/disorders/musculoskeletal_pain/hic_musculoskeletal_pain. aspx David C. Dugdale, I. M. (2012, 2 5). Muscle Atrophy. Retrieved from MedLine Plus: http://www. nlm. nih. gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003188. htm NIAMS. (2011, January). What is Osteoporosis. Retrieved from Osteoporosis: http://www. niams. nih. gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/osteoporosis_ff. asp The Arthritis Foundation. (2013, August 23). What is Arthritis. Retrieved from http://www. arthritis. org/what-is-osteoarthritis. php