Galit Bennett, curator of the mummy exhibit, describes their surprise at this modern disease :
“Osteoporosis is a disease that is characteristic of the 20th century, when people don’t work so hard. We are glued to screens.
We were very surprised that there were people who didn’t do physical work and that it affected their bodies like this man here.”
The man, nicknamed Alex, lived to the relatively grand old age of 30-40 years.
He was originally 5 foot 6, but either in his lifetime or afterward, he shrunk to 5 foot 1.
His sedentary lifestyle as well as inscriptions on his tomb suggest that he was a priest.
He seems to have avoided manual work in the sun in favour of spiritual well-being – while chewing on some high-carb snacks!
Bad Teeth tormented Ancient Egyptians
Alex is not the first mummy found to have suffered from tooth decay.
Almost one in five ancient Egyptian mummies have ‘worn teeth, periodontal diseases, abscesses and cavities’ according to a study published in the Journal of Comparative Human Biology.
This tooth decay may be down to the ancient Egyptians’ diet of bread and honey and love for sweet baked treats.
Modern lifestyles are often blamed for causing blocked arteries but it looks like heart disease is as old as we are.
Researchers reviewed CT scans of 76 Egyptian mummies, and 38 percent were found to have probable or definite calcification in their arteries.
Dr. Jagat Narula points out in an email to Healthline that wealthy Egyptians were carried around :
“Egyptian elites were carried in palanquins (sedentary lifestyle), and they had excess to ample food with well established agriculture and animal husbandry (dietary indiscretion).”
Ironically, only the ancient Egyptians wealthy enough to afford the 70-day mummification process could enjoy the fat-laden diet and sedentary lifestyle we associate with coronary disease.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.