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how to treat osteopenia?
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ILIKEPIGS posted:
I am 44 and recently had a bone scan that showed osteopenia. My hip indicated a -2.1 and I know a -2.5 is considered osteporosis. My OB/Gyne wants to prescribe Fosomax but I don't feel comfortable starting this medication just yet. Has anyone bettered their bone density who has osteopenia with vitamins/supplements out there? Or has anyone improved their bone density with any other methods? I already exercise 5 days a week and have good nutrition, but I do not take calcium or other vitamins. Please advise. Thank you!
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bonebabe responded:
No matter what else you do or don't do, you must take calcium. It is not made by the body, but is stored in the bones. Your body needs calcium to live. It regulates the heart, strengthens heart muscles, regulates blood pressure, aids in wound healing and a host of other things. When you don't give your body calcium, it takes it from the bones. That's what causes bone loss. You need to consume 1200 mg a day in food and/or supplements. Your body will only absorb 500-600 mg at a time, so if you eat a calcium fortified cereal with milk and calcium fortified OJ for breakfast, you won't get the benefit of all that calcium. Spread it out. If you don't get enough in your diet, get a supplement. It can be as simple as Tums. Calcium is a mineral and there's no good or bad calcium. Cost doesn't make it better. Start today. You also need 1000 IU of Vit D each day. This sends the calcium to the bones. It can be taken at any time.

Have you gone through menopause? Are you on hormones? At 44, if you haven't completed menopause, you can expect your numbers to go even lower. The estrogen protects the bones and as your body quits making it, your bones get less dense. You might want to consider hormone replacement therapy (a patch would work well) or Evista - a synthetic hormone that has no effect on breast tissue.

With a -2.1, vitamins and supplements alone won't improve it to the point of normal, especially if the estrogen is still being lost. If I were you, I'd give the hormones a try. Added to the calcium and Vit D. Have a recheck in 2 years, and reconsider your options depending on your scores.
 
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bonebabe responded:
Let me clarify osteopenia for you. I neglected that in my prior post. Osteopenia is not a diagnosis, it is a condition simply meaning low bone mass. This is determined by comparing your bones (if you're post menopausal) to those of a healthy 20 year old of the same sex and race. That's the data base. If you've not gone through menopause yet, your bones are compared to someone of your age, sex and race. What a bone density test is trying to determine is your fracture risk. The T-scores are not the be all and end all. In interpreting the scores, we take into account your height/weight ratio, prior fractures, family history, current medications, smoking and drinking and other medical conditions to as accurately as possible predict your fracture risk. Having a risk doesn't mean you will fracture, just as not having a risk doesn't guarrantee a fracture free life.

As for calcium. You do need it, period. I never heard of this acid factor. Your body needs calcium to function. Take it. It's easy. Don't find yourself 15 years down the road wishing you had. Osteoporosis is not reversible. It is manageable. For as much bad press and negative comments the drugs get, they have improved lives and enabled many of our patients to continue to live independently. I know the drug companies get a bad rap, and maybe some of it is deserved, but when you look at all the class action suits filed by lawyers who open solicit people on drugs and build a case around them, citing all kinds of studies and statistics, you must realize that they too have a dollar interest in making the drugs look bad.

My advice to you remains the same based on what I see up close and personal every day.

Beth
 
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ILIKEPIGS responded:
Thank you so much for your response. It is so nice to learn more about this.

More info on me, I have not gone through menopause and am not on hormones. I am extremely active, lift weights, do cardio exercise, play golf, ski, etc. So this was a real surprise to me. I have been thin my whole life and am sure this is due to genetics. Both of my parents are thin. I know this can be a risk factor. I have not be taking calcium and have not probably been taking in enough calcium for years. My diet is very good, and the only thing it was probably lacking was enough dairy products. I also nursed 2 or my 3 children for extended amounts of time. One of them for 3 years. I don't know if this comes into play. I have a feeling I have had thin bones for years and just didn't know it until I had the scan done.

The hormone therapy really scares me. I haven't done enough research on this yet, but I know that there have been a lot of cancer risks with them and many people don't use them currently because of that. Do you have a current take on that?

Also, I would like to see an expert on this topic. What type of doctor do I see? I was told and endocronologist or an Orthopedic metabolic doctor. Is this correct? I also see that a lot of people treat this naturally, and you of course can't take this approach with an MD. It almost seems like there are 2 roads to take. Any more info/insight would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
 
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Cubone responded:
bonebabe - "I never heard of this acid factor."

See www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17035614
 
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bonebabe responded:
Thanks. Now I've heard of it, probably hadn't before because it's deemed "controversial." At the hospital we have to stick to tried and true. Also, I noticed the study was on post-menopausal women aged 58+. Still don't know if Ilikepigs is postmenopausal or not. Also interesting to note that it did reinforce the fact that calcium lowers blood pressure. Bottom line would be to take calcium citrate for better absorption, bone strength and blood pressure.
 
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ILIKEPIGS responded:
Bonebabe, Hopefully you saw my reply giving you more info on myself not having gone through memopause, etc. It appears that it got posted, but I am new at this. Thanks again! Ilikepigs (my kids made me choose that name!)
 
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nandina responded:
There are some endocrinologists (and other doctors) who have a knowledge of both alternative and traditional approaches, and will go along with you if you choose a natural approach.

Also, keep in mind that although there may be 2 roads you can always switch roads whenever you desire. Nothing is set in stone.

ani
 
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ladybug38260 responded:
I have osteopenia and can not take calcium that I need because of my chron's... Anything with it in it hurts my belly... I tried the calcium pills but they hurt me too and the meds that they offer for it...

My dr said that they were all bad for the chron's. side of it.... I was told that I could step wrong and break a hip...

Marcie
 
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bonebabe responded:
So what is your doctor recommending you do as far as medication? If he says you could step wrong and break a hip, he must be recommending something. I'd try to just get as much in food as I could. I know Crohns is hard on the bones, but lots of foods have calcium and if you eat small amounts throughout the day, could you deal with that?
 
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ladybug38260 responded:
bonebabe I try to add a little each day.. Although it is not near enough... Even with adding just a little it hurts my stomach.

They would not recommend one.. They told me I could take which ever one I wanted and be in pain from the chron's.

I think that my body knows I need calcium because when I see milk I want a glass... I will give in most of the time and deal with the pain....

I have a question how often do I need to get a scan done? I keep forgetting to ask when I see the doc..

Thanks Marcie
 
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bonebabe responded:
Can you do non-dairy calcium rich foods? Canned salmon is great, as are dark greens (kale, collards), almonds, a lot of breads are calcium added as are cereals. I don't do dairy, but I eat Sunbelt banana almond cereal dry each day at my desk. If you'd like and have access to a fax, I can fax you a list of foods in which calcium occurs naturally.

As for retesting - the norm is every 2 years. If you're on prednisone for the Crohn's, you can get it every year - or even 6 months, depending on your insurance.

Beth


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