And I’d Never Even Heard of Osteopenia…

Why Bone Health isn't Something to Mess Around With

About a month ago I had a couple of tests done as part of my yearly physical: A mammogram (painless, fast, necessary – no reason not to have them regularly, ladies), blood work (not so painless or fast, but necessary) and a Bone Density Scan. The bone density scan was pretty relaxing, I nearly fell asleep.

All of the tests came back without any problems except for the Bone Density Scan. My doctor tells me that I have Osteopenia – a pretty word that I’d never even heard of. Apparently it’s a condition that signals the individual is on their way to osteoporosis. Fun times.

I can’t really say I’m that surprised. Not only does medication I’ve had to take for asthma increase my odds, I’m not at all a big milk drinker. Never have been. What I have been is a BIG diet pop drinker and apparently soft drinks are linked to low bone mineral density in women. The fact that I have thyroid disease is also a contributing factor. Add pre-existing medical conditions to a diet low in calcium and Vitamin D – I’d have a lot of gall to feign shock.

I’ve been trying to implement more calcium and vitamin d into my daily diet and I’ve added weights to my daily exercise routine. The condition can be reversed and I’m made up my mind to do just that.

A Diet to Build Strong Bones

Whether you’re already been diagnosed with Osteopenia or osteoporosis or not, you should really start eating a diet conducive to better bone health. You need a diet that’s rich in calcium and magnesium as well as protein and vitamins B, D, and K.  A great article that highlights foods packed with bone building nutrients can be found on Caring.com. Just click the link (it’ll open in a new window).

Personally, I’ve fallen in love with tuna and salmon.  I try to eat at least one of these 3 times a week.  Not only are there a lot of canned varieties to choose from, there are also quite a few packaged tuna and salmon brands.  Mixed with a little olive oil or mayo and pickles and onions – they’re outstanding on bread or crackers. I’ve actually gotten to where I prefer them on crackers.

Prevent Bone Loss and Osteoporosis

Below are a few tips from AOL Health to improve the health of your bones and to prevent Osteopenia and Osteoporosis:

  • Get enough vitamin D. Getting enough vitamin D, along with sufficient calcium, is one of the first steps toward preventing or reducing the effects of osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Taking calcium without vitamin D probably is not beneficial. Recommendations vary, but the National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests that adults up to age 50 get 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D a day. If you are age 50 or older, the recommended amount is 800 to 1,000 IU a day. One glass of milk [8 fl oz (0.2 L)] has about 100 IU. Your bones need vitamin D to absorb calcium. One study showed that vitamin D may reduce an older person’s risk of falling by 22%. Usually 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day is enough to satisfy the body’s vitamin D requirement. But as you age, you cannot make as much vitamin D through your skin. Vitamin D supplements can help older people who are not in the sun much.
  • If you are taking medicines to treat osteoporosis, also take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • Exercise. Recent studies show that weight-bearing exercises (walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or weight lifting), aerobics, and resistance exercises (using weights or elastic bands to help improve muscle strength) are all effective in increasing the bone mineral density and strength of the spine in postmenopausal women. Walking also increases bone mineral density of the hip. Regular exercise throughout life cuts in half the number of hip fractures in older people. Develop an exercise program that fits your lifestyle and is easy to follow. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
  • Eat a nutritious diet to keep your body healthy. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
  • Take steps to prevent falls that might result in broken bones. Have your vision and hearing checked regularly, and wear slippers or shoes with a nonskid sole. Exercises that improve balance and coordination, such as tai chi, can also reduce your risk of falling. You can also make changes in your home to prevent falls.

Click HERE to read the rest of their tips and advice.

If you’re anywhere near as accident prone or clumsy as I am, the thought of avoiding falls or “incidents” is almost laughable.  So, I guess those of us who live life on the dangerous side had better load up on calcium, protein, magnesium and vitamins.   I’d be amiss if I didn’t point this out, though.  I, personally, tried to supplement my diet with chewable calcium supplements but I had to stop taking them.  They made my heart race so much I could practically feel the beats coming out of my chest.

I laid off of them for a few weeks, to see if they were in fact the culprits.  The racing went away.  To be doubly sure, I tried taking one again and BAM, my heart got in a huge hurry again. Freaked me kind of out, so I’ve stopped taking them.   Needless to say, just because I’ve had this problem doesn’t mean you will. In fact, to be honest, I react oddly to a lot of medicines and supplements!

I’m only mentioning it because if you DO take a calcium supplement (or any kind of supplement for that matter), I want you to always pay close attention to your body’s reaction.

Now, go pour yourself a large, cold glass of milk.

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are disrespectful, offensive, or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “And I’d Never Even Heard of Osteopenia…

  1. Sad to hear that you got diagnosed with Osteopenia. But determined as you are, am sure you will be able to reverse it. Calcium is something that we should be aware of, there are plenty of foods that can raise our calcium levels, we just need to be disciplined and eat them regularly. As for the vitamin D, a bit of sun bathing can surely help that cause.

    Good that you mentioned tuna and salmon, however, i would have liked to eat some fresh tuna rather than the canned alternatives, if that was available. I really love to eat freshly caught fish.
    Uttoran Sen´s last blog post ..Preventing Osteoporosis