Healthy bone matrix with text overlay: WW Question: Bone Health

WW Question: Bone Health

Happy Wednesday everyone! Can you believe it’s November already???!!! The days sure are flying by, aren’t they? I don’t know about you, but I’m having to be very deliberate about my wellness efforts right now. It’s just too easy to slide into complacency with our wellness when we live in stressful times. That’s why I think our Wellness Wednesday questions can be helpful. They help us focus on our wellness, even if just for a few minutes.

As you may remember, on Friday, we talked about the importance of building bone while we’re young and how to keep our bones as healthy as possible throughout our lifespan. For this week’s question, we’ll take a look at how we’re doing with taking care of our bones.

Let’s ask ourselves:

Teal background with white conversation bubble that reads, Am I doing everything I can to ensure my bones are healthy? Do I eat a bone-healthy diet? If not, do I need to talk to my doctor about supplementation? Do I participate in movement that helps strengthen bones?

Unfortunately, we don’t always know there’s a problem until we break a bone.

One simple way to determine whether there’s a problem is to have a bone scan, called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). It’s a simple test and only takes a few minutes. It exposes you to less radiation than a regular X-ray. Routine DXA scans are usually not recommended until age 65, but there are times your doctor might recommend one, such as

  • Loss of Height. If a person has lost at least 1.6 inches in height, they may have a compression fracture of the spine. Osteoporosis is one of the main causes for this.
  • A Broken Bone. A broken bone can be a sign that our bones are becoming more fragile.
  • If you’ve taken certain medications. When we have to take certain medications, such as steroid medications, long-term, it can interfere with the remodeling process.
  • If you’ve had an organ transplant. Anti-rejection drugs can also disrupt the remodeling process.
  • If your hormone levels have dropped. The loss of estrogen and testosterone can cause decreases in bone mineral density.

No matter what our starting point, there are things we can do to protect our bones.

I had kind of a double whammy when it came to my bones – I have several risk factors for Osteoporosis, including a strong family history. In addition to that, I took medications for Endometriosis during the years when I should have been reaching my peak bone density. I was more than halfway through my military career and I would have done any kind of treatment to get rid of the pain so I could remain fit for duty. Sometimes, we just have to “choose the lesser of two evils” to be able to have quality of life.

Now I have Osteoporosis, and I have to do everything I can to keep my bones as strong as possible.

But that’s not enough – I also need to do things to make me flexible enough and strong enough to avoid the falls that could cause a fracture. If you’re in the same boat as me, I want to encourage you. We may not be at the point where we can build a lot more bone, but there are things we can do to strengthen the bone we do have and stop further damage.

If you’re younger and still building bone, now is the perfect time to eat a bone-healthy diet and do exercises that help to build new bone. The more bone density you have, the more your body has to pull from as you age.

Is bone health something you think about or is it more a case of “out of sight, out of mind”? What are some of the foods you eat or exercises you do to support your bone health? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

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Bone matrix shaped like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with light and dark pieces fitted together, with text overlay: How healthy are your bones? WW Question: Bone Health

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-density-test/about/pac-20385273

https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview

18 comments

  1. I was on medications for an ulcer and chronic digestion problems for about 25 years, not realizing that those medications were leeching the calcium from my bones. My osteopenia transitioned into osteoporosis, and I fractured my leg in January. The leg fracture resulted in a pulmonary embolism and nine months of blood thinner. The doctor told me last week that if I break another bone I’ll be on blood thinner for the rest of my life. In other words, the medications for my digestion issues had a domino effect. Years of a bone-building diet, calcium supplements, and vitamin D3 weren’t enough to counteract the damage that had been done. I don’t know what I could have done differently, but I wish I’d known then what I know now. My digestion problems coincided with the advent of a host of miracle drugs such as the proton pump inhibitors. My message to the younger generation is this: Don’t blindly take the newest drug on the market. Sometimes long-term use of a drug reveals something that is not known or readily publicized when a drug is new. Once the calcium is leeched from your bones, no drugs, foods, or exercise can completely replace what God put there originally.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Janet! You’re right — once we reach a certain point, sometimes we can’t overcome the bone-loss process and we have to turn our attention to doing what we can to prevent falls and fractures. I hope the younger generation will heed your advice about the drugs that come on the market. I also hope they’ll use their ‘bone-building powers’ while they’re reaching their peak bone mass. Thanks again for sharing your story. Blessings to you sweet friend!

  2. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis last year. Unfortunately, I have a reaction to the medication so far, so we have to try something different. Not fun. Another timely post.

    1. Thanks for sharing VJ. I’m so sorry you’re having a reaction to your medication. I took Fosamax for a couple of years, but ended up developing tummy issues (in addition to other side effects) and had to stop. When I had a follow-up bone scan later on, my scores were Osteopenia. I’m not sure whether that was just because I had them done in different places or what. Anyway, I had another one done last month, and it’s definitely at the Osteoporosis stage. I can’t take the Fosamax and I have some concerns about Prolia, so my doctor agreed to let me do everything I can for two years then test again. If it’s not good, I’ll reconsider my options. I hope you’re able to find something that works for you. Sending hugs your way!

      1. Thanks Terri. Tummy issues happened here too – that’s what lead to gall bladder surgery, funnily enough. I know there are other options. Just been put on hold due to COVID.

      2. Oh yikes! I’m so glad you were able to get that resolved, at least. I’m afraid a lot of things will be on hold for a while due to COVID. They’re always working on new treatments, so I’m holding out hope that maybe they’ll find something one day that will actually rebuild bone. Hope you and hubby are doing better. Sending hugs!

  3. A super topic to make us all think about, Terri. If I were able, I’d try swimming. It’s certainly not happening right now for me, and I imagine it’s similar for most because of the pandemic, but yoga is a good option too that we can do in small bits from home at whatever level suits us. I’ve been wanting to get back into doing that for the longest time. Oops. Vitamin D supplements and more calcium are what I’m at least actively trying to do each day. xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! Yoga is a great activity you can do at home, as are walking and bodyweight exercises. We just have to be careful with any kind of exercises that involve twisting (especially twisting while bending) if our bones are already thin as we can cause spinal fractures if we’re not careful. We’re supplement sisters – I’m taking my calcium and vitamin D too. Hope you’re doing well sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

  4. After reading your post last week on this topic, I was doing research and trying to eat more foods that are calcium rich. I can’t really drink milk because I’m lactose intolerant so I’m finding other ways to supplement my body with the nutrients it needs to help strengthen my bones. Because I’m on the older side, this is something that I need to keep in the forefront. Thanks for always sharing relative topics Terri!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Mark! I’m glad you’re able to find other calcium-rich foods since you can’t eat/drink dairy. You may want to take a look at foods that contain vitamin D and magnesium as well, as they help your body use the calcium you ingest. Blessings to you dear friend!

    1. Thanks for sharing Keeya, and for the link to the article. I wasn’t aware of the link between MCAS and Osteopenia, but after reading the article, I can see why it’s so common. Hope you’re staying safe and well!

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