If I only knew then what I know now — my grandmother’s story

I’ve previously shared memories of my grandmother, an exceptionally vibrant and wise woman who died at the age of 102 with her mind still as sharp as any youngster’s. She died from complications of a hip fracture a year after falling in the bathtub — and her story is part of the reason I came to dedicate myself to exploring the human potential for natural bone health.

Back when my grandmother was alive, it was only late in her life that any of us realized she had extreme bone weakening due to severe vitamin D deficiency. This is known as “rickets” in children and “osteomalacia” in adults. Without enough vitamin D, my grandmother’s body could not properly absorb calcium or phosphorus, and she developed serious osteoporosis and visibly weak bone.

To give you a little more history: after fracturing her collar bone and wrists in her 60s and 70s, she lost a great deal of height over the years and her legs became bowed — typical signs of the most severe vitamin D deficiency.

Even though I saw my grandmother every few days when I was growing up, I had no awareness of what was happening to her skeleton. But if I had known then what I know now, my grandmother could have been treated early on with vitamin D and all the other key bone nutrients.

I always wonder how long she might have lived if she hadn’t been forced to live with such extreme bone weakness. She might’ve been the most sound of mind, longest living woman in this country!Yet, on the other hand, I marvel at how well she managed, carrying out her daily household tasks even into her 101th year, never voicing even one complaint, or one mention of pain.

Nearly everyone who fractures a hip has inadequate vitamin D. The simplest thing you can do for yourself and the elders in your family is to test the vitamin D level and supplement to bring that level to 50 to 60 ng/mL year-round.

 

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