F Simple and Serene Living: OSTEOPOROSIS AND THE AGING WOMAN 09 10
Monday, September 21, 2015

OSTEOPOROSIS AND THE AGING WOMAN

I am an independent woman, a baby boomer, a woman who is aging, a woman who loves her family, and a woman who has the beginnings of osteoporosis. This osteoporosis thing doesn't come as a surprise to me, but what does come as a surprise is that no doctor ever suggested I be tested for it. Even the doctor who treats both my mother and myself and knows my family history did not suggest it. 

osteoporosis risks

I have a strong family history of osteoporosis. My grandmother's hip shattered, my uncle's hip shattered (yes men get it too), and my mother who has lost almost 5 inches in height has see through bones. I also have other risk factors. I am a Caucasian woman, very fair skinned, and have a small frame. I have avoided other risk factors though. I have never been a smoker or heavy drinker. In the past I have been guilty of not getting enough exercise, but I am now on a walking program.

walking path exercise

Last month when I visited the PA in my doctor's office I asked about having a bone density test done. Have you never had one, she asked. Ummmm, no. Apparently the recommendation is that a woman who has risk factors should have one every two years after menopause. I guess I was just a little behind on my screenings. So a test was scheduled for the next week. My doctor only screens the spine and hips and the test was simple, quick, and painless. 

feathers

When I finally got my results last week I found out I have mild osteopenia in my spine, which is mild thinning of the bone mass, but not severe enough to be considered osteoporosis. WebMD says having osteopenia  means " there is a greater risk, as time passes, you may develop bone density that is very low compared to normal, known as osteoporosis". All people begin to lose bone mass beginning at age 30, but how dense your bone mass is to begin with may determine how fast you lose it. 

I also found that I have borderline osteoporosis in one of my hips. Uh oh. As there are no symptoms of thinning bones, I wouldn't have known I had this without the scan, and as our bones thin our risk of fractures goes up. 

apples wood bowl


My next step was to discuss how I wanted to treat my thinning bones. Because I already have bones that have started to lose mass I chose to take a once weekly pill that helps to ward off further bone loss and may even restore some of what I have already lost. I don't take any prescription drugs lightly. I always prefer to try to treat things naturally as much as possible, but this is one thing I don't want to play around with. A shattered hip is not fun. 

I can't do much about the genetic predisposition I have for osteoporosis, but there are other things I can do now. As I said before, I have started walking regularly, I take a calcium and vitamin D supplement, I eat lots of veggies and fruit, I don't drink alcoholic beverages or consume caffeine, and I try to keep a healthy attitude about it all. 

raspberries antique white ironstone plate


It is never too early to start taking care of your bones. Even if you are not at an age yet where you may be experiencing bone thinning you should be making sure you are exercising, getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, eating foods rich in magnesium, avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol, and if you are a smoker, please consider getting help to stop. 

My mom is 91, her brother is 95, and I had three grandparents who lived into their 90's. I hope I have inherited their longevity genes, and if so I want to keep myself feeling the best that I can. Working on keeping my bones healthy is one way I can do that. 

Do you know your risk for getting osteoporosis? What are you doing for your bones?


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P.S. This post is part of the Women Speak series.

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19 comments:

  1. I have never been checked for osteoporosis either. Guess I'll get that checked with my next physical. Thanks for the information!

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    1. I hope you will, Sandy. We are lucky to live at a time where there is screening and help.

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  2. been there done that.
    Fosamax then Fosavance for some years.
    Now would have to move to the next drug. Intravenous.
    Which the periodontist says can cause huge problems for the upper jaw.

    I do take a calcium supplement with vitamanin D3 and K. And a magnesium supplement.
    Hoping that the 'extreme' gardening does good. And I do some deliberate exercises for the hip joint. Stand at the computer for part of my online addiction time.

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    1. I had a bone density test once but not a scan. My mother has terrible osteoporosis. She was a smoker for years. She also drinks more than she should. She has had many fractures. Her last one about three months ago has really been life threatening. She fractured her pelvis. Then she got pneumonia. She has had chronic leukemia and all this sent her counts climbing. Her whites are now 179,000 with a high normal being 10,000. Now 80 percent compromised. It's not something to take lightly. She stopped her Fosomax a few months ago. Why? Because she read something that told her it was dangerous. She believes everything she reads or hears. She is 88.

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    2. My mom stopped Fosomax too, Debbie because she said it upset her stomach. I am sorry to hear that your mom has so many health issues. I hope that you will get regular bone density scans so that you can take action for your own health.

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    3. I am hoping that the Fosomax works for me, Diana. Sounds like you are doing what you can. I need to step up my exercising.

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    4. it does, what it does.
      But after a given number of years, presents other risks.
      No fractures yet for me.

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  3. I should've had a bone density test many years ago as a baseline but never did. I'm surprised that my doctor hasn't suggested a scan for me yet. I've done everything else they've recommended for my age. I don't smoke and rarely drink alcohol. I take a multi vitamin for age 50+. I'm sure I will have to take a calcium supplement one day or even a prescription for bone health. My mom has shrunk since she's gotten older.

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    1. If you have passed menopause, Kelly you should ask your doctor for one. You should probably also asking about taking a calcium supplement now . It's important to keep those bones strong

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  4. Very good advice. I've been getting bone density tests for years now and in face, I'm due to get one next month..So glad you took the positive action in taking care of yourself...

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    1. Glad to hear you are getting yours, Nancy. So important for all women to know .

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  5. Tests will be coming up for me in the next few years. In the meantime, supplements and a good diet are my main defense.

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    1. Good for you, Michelle. You're absolutely doing the right thing by being proactive .

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  6. Yup! I have it too!! If you take the once a week pill - don't forget to take Vitamin D as well. They go together.
    I used to be 5' 2" - now I am 5'.5"
    I'm SHRINKING!!! Vertically! NOT horizontally!! Alas.......

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    1. I do take vitamin D regularly, Linda. It is very important . I was deficient in it several years ago so now I make sure that I get plenty .

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  7. So glad that you have started a walking regime. I too have osteoporosis in my family, and I am very tiny at 5'1" and small bones and very slim. I have always been very physically active and have walked every day and also practice Pilates and ballet workouts. It's so important to add exercise to your daily routine and it does help to prevent bone loss. Keep it up Laura!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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  8. Laura,
    You have a great attitude so just keep doing what you're doing! My mom has it and I have some mild changes but nothing too serious. I do try to walk as much as I can and eat properly! Here's to a long, healthy life!.....
    Linda

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    1. Let's keep it up, Linda. We can have that long healthy life.

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