Man's incredible cough broke his body's strongest bone

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Among many, many other things, yes. But I have to think there was more than that going on here to get that level of osteopenia. And he broke a femur, but not a rib? I have had kids get pertussis and crack ribs by coughing too hard. Femur? New one on me!


Yeah, this story doesn’t pass the smell test. I read the linked article and this stood out to me:

After tests confirmed that Ye didn’t suffer from any bone illnesses, doctors concluded that he simply had incredibly fragile bones as a result of his coke-drinking habits, poor diet, and lack of exercise.

If that’s all it took, there would be an epidemic of Americans breaking femurs during coughing fits. I don’t think they tested for every bone illness. I have osteogenesis imperfecta. That’s a genetic disorder (I know you know this, I’m just saying this for everyone else’s benefit). There’s not a blood test for it, and genetic testing is expensive and time consuming, and not always 100% definitive. There are a bunch of different types of OI, and not all of them even can be definitively tested for. Some are diagnosed by symptoms. My guess is he has one of these related disorders, or some other connective tissue disorder. He probably has a really mild form of it, and his diet and lack of exercise maybe made it worse. This could also explain why he broke a femur and not a rib. First of all, he might have actually injured the femur before he thinks he did, so it might not have been the coughing at all. Second, OI has a way of selectively affecting only certain types of bones. In some people, it only affects long bones (femurs, humerus, etc.). In others, it can affect only other types of bones. And in yet other, it can affect all bones. In my case, I’ve had around 15 fractures in my life, and it’s only been my femurs. None from coughing, though.


I got a friend who broke his playing paintball sliding into a bunker (not sure on the specifics). Not a fun time, but it also took some real force!


I once broke my femur by standing up. That’s why I suspect this guy has some undiagnosed bone disorder.



Now that I think about it - co worker broke his going through a drive through. Again I’m not too clear on HOW. I think he got out of his car partly and it rolled.


Yeah, for a “normal” person, it takes a tremendous amount of force to break a femur. Car accidents are often a cause.

My last non-surgical fracture (I’ve had the femurs broken surgically before, on purpose, to straighten them from previously poorly healed fractures), I tripped over a power cord running across a conference room between the conference table and the wall outlet. The cord wasn’t taped down. Ironically, one of the things we were discussing in the meeting was workplace safety, and the company’s safety manager was in the meeting.


OK, maybe inappropriate question, but I have to ask, are your sclera blue? I have a couple of OI patients (as you noted, the number of types and subtypes seems to multiply every time I check) but the tell was the blue sclera, one like Dune-level blue, one very subtle, but both blue. It’s a fascinating disorder on an intellectual level, but a royal PITA to the patients.


I do not. In fact, a common statement from new doctors I go to when I tell them I have OI is, “But your sclera aren’t blue.” Blue sclera is very common in OI patients, but it isn’t universal, and is less common in certain types. And I don’t know for sure what type I have. Probably either type I or type IV, and type IV usually have normal sclera. Although, I do have an unusual eye color (dark blue, almost a hybrid of a navy blue and a hazel), and there have been times in my life when my sclera have had a very barely noticeable bluish tint. OI is a weird disorder. Or group of disorders, more accurately. Because it’s caused by either defective or insufficient collagen, it can have some effects on almost all the connective tissue in your body. And the whites of your eyes are basically nothing but connective tissue. I also have some hyper-flexible joints, most notably my thumbs. Speaking of hyper-flexible joints, it’s also possible that Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is related to OI. But you’re right, it is a fascinating disorder on an intellectual level. If I didn’t have it, I would definitely find it more interesting than annoying. One of the weirdest aspects, if you’re really interested in digging into this, is that it seems to somehow skip generations sometimes, even though most of the types are dominant, genetically. So you can’t have carriers. So it shouldn’t be possible to skip generations, but it seems like it does. It also seems to hop around to different branches on family trees in ways that don’t make sense. It’s a weird disorder.

ETA: By the way, if anyone thinks doc is exaggerating about the Dune-level of blue, he is not. Here’s a picture I found on the webs. I have met several OI folks with eyes like this. It’s pretty noticeable.


I did have a friend who sneezed and herniated a disc…he was a police officer, so you know he never lived that down… :slight_smile:


Given my hard and fast sneezes, this is what I’m afraid of.


Yup, that skipping thing is variable penetrance. Very weird, and for all our knowledge gained over the last 30 years, this one is still just friggin’ weird. I think we need things like this to keep us humble.


I’m more worried when someone has a 1st rib fracture. That takes some serious mechanism of injury. As does a scapular fracture.

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Egging for Sacrum-C5 or such, and China’s newly on the outs fluoridated cola, but all right.

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