Jun
28
2011

EAT YOUR WAY TO HEALTHY BONES: JULIE’S STORY

EAT YOUR WAY TO HEALTHY BONES: JULIE’S STORY
When I went to have my hone density checked, 1 figured the results would come hack telling me I was “at risk”—isn’t every woman over 601 But I was very surprised when it turned out I already had osteoporosis. I’ve always had a pretty balanced diet, and been a generally active person. I’m no athlete, but I am a half-decent weekend skier.
I am small-boned and thin, like my mom, who was very bent over by the time she died, well into her 80s. As I’ve read about the things that have an impact on your bones, I’ve learned more about my risks. I never have soda, but do usually drink a cup or two of coffee each day. I smoked for more than ten years when I was very young, but I stopped as soon as the Surgeon General’s report about the cancer dangers came out. I didn’t have any menopausal symptoms, so I never even really considered hormone replacement therapy. My doctor brought it up again after my scan, but I cut her off immediately. I’m about to be 65, and have no intention of starting that now, if I haven’t needed it otherwise.
When I found out how much bone I had lost, I started taking Fosamax. After two years on it, a second DEXA scan showed I had increased density by 7 percentage points. That puts me on the borderline between osteopenia and osteoporosis, but definitely on the denser side and out of immediate danger. Though I never had any side effects from it, Fosamax is a difficult medication to take because you have to wait a half hour after you take it before you eat, and you have to stay upright during that time, so you can’t exactly crawl back in bed with the New York Times. Besides, I don’t want to be on this or any drug forever. And in fact, I’m not at all certain just what caused the improvement, since I started a strength training program, became a vegetarian, and began taking vitamin and calcium supplements on the same day I started Fosamax!
That’s why I’ve decided to stop taking the drug and rely on diet and exercise. I’m now a vegetarian, but not vegan—I do eat eggs and dairy. I always say, “I don’t eat anything that had a heartbeat.” That was an enormous change for me, because before that I ate meat at least once a day. I certainly always had meat at dinner, and sometimes it seemed like
I was the last woman alive who would admit to regularly enjoying a steak. It’s funny, though, because giving up meat hasn’t really bothered me. Once I got on a roll with it, it just became second nature.
Regular exercise was also a major lifestyle change for me. I’ve never been a couch potato, but I never followed any particular routine before. Now I exercise daily. I do half an hour of aerobic exercise seven days a week—a cross-country skiing machine, though I don’t use the arm part (I read). Plus, twice a week I work out with weights.
My doctor recommended taking a calcium supplement and a multivitamin, so now every day I get 1,000 milligrams of calcium in pills that also contain vitamin D, magnesium, and trace minerals. I also take a common multivitamin to make sure I cover everything.
I’ve been off Fosamax for six weeks now. This is an experiment on my part, to see if I can maintain the changes I’ve made, without the medication. I’ll get another DEXA scan in a year and then reevaluate my situation. If I lose bone, I suppose I’ll go back to the Fosamax, but I believe the healthy changes I’ve made in my life will give me the strong bones I need.
*37\228\2*
When I went to have my hone density checked, 1 figured the results would come hack telling me I was “at risk”—isn’t every woman over 601 But I was very surprised when it turned out I already had osteoporosis. I’ve always had a pretty balanced diet, and been a generally active person. I’m no athlete, but I am a half-decent weekend skier.
I am small-boned and thin, like my mom, who was very bent over by the time she died, well into her 80s. As I’ve read about the things that have an impact on your bones, I’ve learned more about my risks. I never have soda, but do usually drink a cup or two of coffee each day. I smoked for more than ten years when I was very young, but I stopped as soon as the Surgeon General’s report about the cancer dangers came out. I didn’t have any menopausal symptoms, so I never even really considered hormone replacement therapy. My doctor brought it up again after my scan, but I cut her off immediately. I’m about to be 65, and have no intention of starting that now, if I haven’t needed it otherwise.
When I found out how much bone I had lost, I started taking Fosamax. After two years on it, a second DEXA scan showed I had increased density by 7 percentage points. That puts me on the borderline between osteopenia and osteoporosis, but definitely on the denser side and out of immediate danger. Though I never had any side effects from it, Fosamax is a difficult medication to take because you have to wait a half hour after you take it before you eat, and you have to stay upright during that time, so you can’t exactly crawl back in bed with the New York Times. Besides, I don’t want to be on this or any drug forever. And in fact, I’m not at all certain just what caused the improvement, since I started a strength training program, became a vegetarian, and began taking vitamin and calcium supplements on the same day I started Fosamax!
That’s why I’ve decided to stop taking the drug and rely on diet and exercise. I’m now a vegetarian, but not vegan—I do eat eggs and dairy. I always say, “I don’t eat anything that had a heartbeat.” That was an enormous change for me, because before that I ate meat at least once a day. I certainly always had meat at dinner, and sometimes it seemed like
I was the last woman alive who would admit to regularly enjoying a steak. It’s funny, though, because giving up meat hasn’t really bothered me. Once I got on a roll with it, it just became second nature.
Regular exercise was also a major lifestyle change for me. I’ve never been a couch potato, but I never followed any particular routine before. Now I exercise daily. I do half an hour of aerobic exercise seven days a week—a cross-country skiing machine, though I don’t use the arm part (I read). Plus, twice a week I work out with weights.
My doctor recommended taking a calcium supplement and a multivitamin, so now every day I get 1,000 milligrams of calcium in pills that also contain vitamin D, magnesium, and trace minerals. I also take a common multivitamin to make sure I cover everything.
I’ve been off Fosamax for six weeks now. This is an experiment on my part, to see if I can maintain the changes I’ve made, without the medication. I’ll get another DEXA scan in a year and then reevaluate my situation. If I lose bone, I suppose I’ll go back to the Fosamax, but I believe the healthy changes I’ve made in my life will give me the strong bones I need.
*37\228\2*
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Written by admin in: Healthy bones Osteoporosis Rheumatic |

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