Thursday, October 12, 2006
Knick Knack Paddy-Whack, Os-cal for my Bones
Well, not my body. At least not, as much as it would if I didn't have cystic fibrosis. My body is just too lazy to do the work required to properly absorb the vitamins and nutrients I feed it. (And boy do I feed it!) As a result I, like many other CFers, and deficient in vitamins A, D, E and K. Vitamin D, which is a fat soluble vitamin, is directly responsible for how much calcium comprises the bones in our bodies. Without sufficient vitamin D and calcium to build strong bones, the risk of developing osteoporosis or osteopenia increases.
Many people have heard of osteoporosis, but osteopenia is not as commonly known. Osteopenia is when a person's bones are less dense than normal. Eventually it could lead to osteoporosis. Typically people who develop this condition are much older and are likely to be post-menopausal women. Bone density losses take place more frequently as people age. However, people with CF are likely to be diagnoses with osteopenia or osteoporosis at younger ages. I am one of them. I have osteopenia.
What do I do about it? Can I get rid of it?
My doctor has assured me that the diagnosis of osteopenia is not something that should keep me up at night. There are things I can do to make sure that I don't continue to lose bone density. These include:
- eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- limit my caffeine intake
- limit my alcohol consumption
- do weight-bearing exercise like running, walking, or hiking (basically anything that forces my body to work against gravity)
- take care of my mental health issues so that they don't adversely affect my physical health
- did I mention eat?
- sit in the sun for about 15 minutes per day to give my body the opportunity to make its own vitamin D.