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24 and just diagnosed with osteoporosis
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Renny1985 posted:
Hello everyone- I just had a bone density scan and it showed osteoporosis in left hip and osteopenia in my lumbar spine. These are the only two places that were looked at.

I have a lot of health issues but no doctor has ever really been able to define them. I have GI problems, headaches, fatigue, severe leg pain, and was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease in April.

I am wondering if anyone can offer any advice or knowledge regarding WHY I could have osteoporosis at such a young age. I am wondering if it is connected to my GI issues or if maybe there is something underlying ALL of these conditions...

I am seeing an endo next Wed. My Lyme doc wanted me to see a specialist as he wasn't sure exactly how to treat this issue in someone my age. I was an athlete my whole childhood and have been quite active until about March of this year when my leg pain and other symptoms got so severe. I am currently being treated with IV antibiotics for the LYME.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
RENNY
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bonebabe responded:
Hi Renny,

I'm hoping one of the medical doctors on this board will reply to this too.

True osteoporosis in someone as young as you is secondary to something else going on with you. Also in order for you to be diagnosed with osteoporosis, you have to have gone through menopause. A diagnosis is not given to premenopausal women.

If you haven't had an early menoopause, it may be that your bone density is low because you're still building bone mass and haven't reached your peak yet. We don't ordinarily test young people for this reason unless they have other health issues that will affect the bone.

As for treatment, there is no approved treatment for premenopausal women. Birth control pills could help if you aren't already on them.

You say you have GI problems. That can lead to difficulties in absorbing calcium which impedes your buildup of bone mass.

You need to get about 1200 mg of calcium into your body every day. If you can't do dairy, look for foods with calcium added. If you see a % sign, drop it and add a zero to get the calcium amount. 25% = 250 mg. You probably need a calcium supplement. It can be as simple as Tums. There is no good or bad calcium. Just get one that works for you. Take it with food twice a day. You body won't absorb more than 500 mg or so at a time.

You also need Vit D. If your doctor hasn't checked your levels, ask about it. The current recommendation is now at 1000 IU a day. I've heard that it may soon be raised to 2000 a day.

Go the the NOF website for a lot of good reliable information. www.nof.org

I hope this helps and that you get some answers from your endo.
 
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Renny1985 replied to bonebabe's response:
I asked my lyme doctor today to do a vitamin panel and CBC so that I have a baseline to bring to the endo next week. I will start taking calcium/vit d tonight.

I am really wondering what I am sick with that is causing all of this... including the osteoporosis. I hope the endo can help me. I am certainly not in early menopause- I have my period right now. I am also on Birth control- the NuvaRing.. and have been since I was 16. I am truly surprised to hear that I have osteoporosis.

Thank you very much for your response. I too hope a Doc does respond here as well. I am wondering: Do you know if the osteoporosis could be causing the severe leg pain that I have? It starts in my hip/groin area and radiates down my thigh. It ranges from mild to severe but can last several days at a time and then goes away for a few days.

Thanks!
 
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bonebabe replied to Renny1985's response:
If you're still having periods, you do not have osteoporosis. Your bone density may be low for your age (a -2.0 or lower on the Z-score) but you don't have osteoporosis.

I'm not sure the hormones released by a NuvaRing go into the bloodstream to help the bones, since it's a vaginal insert. I was referring more to the BC pills.

Good for you to start the calcium and Vit D tonight. Take the calcium with meals, several hours apart.

As for the pain going down your leg, that's not from a low bone density. It could be a disc pressing on a nerve, bursitis or something else. Your doctor should be able to tell you.
 
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Renny1985 replied to bonebabe's response:
Thanks for your reply. The bone density scan said the following: Bone densitometry of lumbar spine total mineral density is .853 g/cm2. This is 1.8 standard deviations below normal young adult standard, indicative of osteopenia. Bone mineral density of left hip is .621 g/cm2 which is 2.6 standard deviations below the normal young adult standard, indicative of osteoporosis.

Impression: Osteopenia of lumbar spine; Osteoporosis of left hip.
 
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bonebabe replied to Renny1985's response:
You have to look at the Z-scores, not the T-scores. Z-scores compare you to someone your age, height, weight. T-scores compare you to a database of a normal healthy young adult.

While the BMD numbers stay the same (and are low) you don't get an official diagnosis until you pass menopause. It can be very confusing. It doesn't mean you can't fracture and you get a free pass, it just means there's no diagnosis. This is very important when completing health forms (like life insurance applications) and they ask for current illness/condition. You don't put osteoporosis.

It also means that your bone density can still improve because you're most like still building bone. That's why we don't typically test people who are premenopausal unless they have something else going on with them.

Check out the NOF site. It can explain all this to you, maybe clearer than I did.
 
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NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION
Adi Cohen, MD, MHS responded:
It is possible for a premenopausal woman to be diagnosed with osteoporosis, but making this diagnosis is challenging. Osteoporosis could be diagnosed in a person with a history of low trauma fracture(s). The diagnosis could also be made if a person's low bone density is associated with a known disease or condition that is associated with bone loss or fractures. Unlike in postmenopausal women, bone density alone cannot be used to diagnose osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone density) in premenopausal women.

The majority of premenopausal women with osteoporosis are found, after detailed evaluation, to have a medical condition or medication exposure that has contributed to their bone disorder. Seeing your healthcare provider to initiate such an evaluation is a good first step to take. Your other medical issues may or may not be related to a cause of your low bone density.

Your knowledgeable healthcare provider can help to determine whether or not you have osteoporosis, what the causes could be, and what steps you could take to protect your bones.
 
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Tomato05 replied to Adi Cohen, MD, MHS's response:
When I was 35, doctors had no hesitation in diagnosing me with osteoporosis, with scores like -4.2...


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