Updated 09 December 2014

Face your 'hunchback' fears

We all want to walk upright into our old age, but osteoporosis could see you develop the dreaded dowager's hump.


If you protect yourself from osteoporosis, you can fight off the risk of developing the much dreaded hunched back, otherwise known as dowager's hump.

Osteoporosis is associated with decreased bone mass and quality, decreased muscle power and an increased tendency to fall.

Osteoporotic changes most commonly affect the spine and hips. If you have osteoporosis of the spine, the vertebrae can fracture and this can cause kyphosis – the hump.

Read: Why you should be taking a calcium supplement in your twenties

There is no way of avoiding a hump from forming on your back, but you can reduce the chances of developing one by consuming the recommended daily allowance of calcium and vitamin D.

It is also best to start looking after your bones in your twenties, instead of later down the line.

Although many people may associate osteoporosis with elderly women, it does also affect men.

Read: Guys, check your osteoporosis risk

According to Dr Magda Conradie, consultant at the Tygerberg Hospital Metabolic Unit, osteoporosis in women can be linked to increased re-absorption of bone tissue due to decreased oestrogen levels.

The onset in men is 10 to 15 years later than in females because men – because of bulk and heavier frames – have more skeletal bone to lose.

Watch this video and to find out more about dowager's hump and how it can be prevented:

Also read:

Use this calcium calculator to check if your intake is adequate to prevent osteoporosis
Many moles linked to lower risk of osteoporosis
Men are the weaker sex when it comes to bone health
Risk factors for osteoporosis

Sources: Health24, Healthline,, and Osteopenia.


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Healthy Bones

Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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