Thursday, October 12, 2006

Knick Knack Paddy-Whack, Os-cal for my Bones

In order to achieve the best results to prevent osteoporosis and its complications, the prevention should ideally begin at the earliest possible age.

--Gro H. Brundtland

I grew up on a dairy, so naturally I'm a milk drinker--whole milk thank you very much. My husband and I even used champagne glasses filled with milk (instead of champagne) for the toasts at our wedding! Cute, no? Even with my fondness for snacking on cheeses, yogurts, ice cream and pretty much anything else milk related, my bone density isn't the greatest. I have never broken a major bone in my body, and I assumed my lactose laden diet was sufficient to protect me from any osteo-related problems. Afterall, milk does a body good, right?

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
  • eat
  • eat
  • 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.
My body certainly requires a lot of maintenance, but since it's not just a "point A to point B vehicle" I'm more than happy to treat it with the attention and TLC it deserves so that I can continue living well with CF. It's not always a piece of cake (mmm...cake) to do all that's required, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it.

hey keep up with the good work!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?