• over 1 year ago

    Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    Help...I just had a bone density test and it's showing I'm osteoporotic (score of -3 according to the radiology tech....my ob-gyn has not reviewed it with me yet). I'm only 53 and otherwise in perfect health!. I am completely freaking out now, afraid I'll be labeled as osteoporotic (with no idea what implications that will have) and doomed to a life of cifosis and compression fractures. I have absolutely no fracture history. I was drastically underweight for a brief time as a teenager, I tend to eat vegan and I'm sure I haven't gotten enough calcium over the years, and I've always thought I was low in estrogen (androgynous body type, infrequent periods, barely noticed menopause). On the other hand, I don't smoke and I exercise plenty -- any advice? I'm scared.

Responses

  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    Hi - I also have been recently diagnosed and like you felt like I was maintaining a very healthy lifestyle. I am 59, did not overeat, and exercised regularly. Apparently 1 in 5 women over 50 develop this. The good news is that there are lots of treatment for this and some meds can reverse the trend. I just met with my friend for dinner yesterday who has it at 56 and her mother has had it for years and is now 90! I am here for you...Let me know what you find out from your doctor.
      • over 1 year ago
        Oh wow Faith, thank you!! You can't know how reassuring your post was. 1 in 5....I'll be.... So I'm pondering low-dose estrogen/progesteron and calcium supplement OR Fossamax OR both. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I'm afraid of the possible weight gain from the estrogen, and I'm afraid of being labelled "osteoporotic" if I take the Fossamax....or even if I don't, honestly. I don't know what implications that might have. Main thing is, I'll probably need another dental implant one day (have already had one very successful one), and I don't know if this diagnosis is a contraindication. My ob-gyn is young and I think I'm one of the first of these early onset types she's seen, so she's open to my input I THINK..... What did you do, Faith? What would you recommend? I have zero other health conditions. (And I am sorry you went through this to, healthy as you have lived....I admit I didn't vary my diet enough over the years and didn't take in enough calcium, so I'll sure take responsibility for bringing it on...) Thank you again so much for posting!!!
      • over 1 year ago
        wow I was just given the same news back in Nov. 2017 so thank you both for posting. I was shocked too because I too was living a healthy lifestyle at least that is what I thought. I have been not doing as much as I use to because I have been afraid of breaking my back. I am finally going to a specialist next month. please post any ideas that work for both of you, I don't know anyone who has this which is even harder to get advice. again thank you both.
      • over 1 year ago
        Thank you all for your posts. It is great to hear from others. Right now, I am looking at various options. I am very interested in bioidentical hormones and Im still researching which doctor to see. I was prescribed Elixar (sp?) but I have read that there are some side effects...but it is not out of the question. I am going to see my regular ob/gyn on Feb. 22nd to discuss options. In the meantime, I am exercising --this is really important-- doing weight bearing exercises plus walking every day and taking calcium citrate, magnesium, boron and K2. I have also watched videos on Youtube regarding osteoporosis. Regarding bioidentical hormones, these were used previously to treat Osteoporosis but were discontinued after the Women's study in 2002. This study has come into question from the reading that I have done.
      • over 1 year ago
        Hey guys.... I want give you an update. I got a second scan from a company I found called Dexafit ... local folks franchise and do fitness assessments usually for athletes. They did a whole body fat/BMI/lean muscle/symmetry all over the body/and bone scan for just $150. I was fully prepared for ... and expecting ... the results to be as bad or worse than the first one. I just wanted to be sure. THE RESULTS WERE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT....AND BETTER!!! Instead of a -3 overall, I had a -1.8. This is osteopenia, not osteoporosis. That was huge for me. It did not motivate me less to address the condition; it motivated me a whole lot more. I asked the guy if he was confident in his results and he said absolutely.....master's in kinesiology, certified in xray, and just calibrated the machine last month. So WOW. First scan was ordered by doctor through one of those services that do all that stuff for doctors. Troubles me that it was so far off; wonder about the machine and calibration. Interesting that the tech told me she sees scores like my -3 "all the time." I thought she was just trying to make me feel better. Just thinking that if you can, get a second scan if you get extreme scores, just to be sure. Having said that, I took my first dose of Fosamax Monday and I'm off on my bone-building adventure. Also FINALLY drinking some milk after years of stubbornly refusing. Just a little. Baby steps. How's everybody else???
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    Hi all. I'm 59 and was diagnosed with osteoporosis when I was 50. Yes it was a shock because like many of you, I lived a "healthy lifestyle." But what you will learn is that your currently lifestyle really has nothing to do with this - you lay down bone when you are a child, teen and young adult. It is during that time that nutrition and exercise matters most. I was borderline anorexic in high school and was always naturally thin, and along with genetics, I ended up with this. The good news is that I have taken a variety of medicines, my bone density has remained stable - that is, as I have aged, my bones have not. I am very active, hike, bike, lift weights, do yoga, etc. etc. I eat right but maintain a healthy BMI - my doctor (a rheumatologist, by the way) does not want it below 22, because you need to carry some weight to keep your bones strong. I have tried a variety of medicines and none have given me side effects. I have not broken a bone, nor have I suffered any implications with my health insurance. I realize everyone is different, and I know your diagnosis is scary, but there are far worse things that can happen to you! Research your condition, make sure you have a good doctor - my GP recommended me to a specialist right away who I see annually. Good luck, and try not to worry!
      • over 1 year ago
        I am 72 and just diagnosed with osteoporosis..I have been reading about vitamin K2 and it’s great benefits for directing calcium to our bones and out of our arteries..I started taking 200 mg daily along with plenty of vitamin d3 and magnesium and calcium..I won’t take the drugs..too many side effects...
      • over 1 year ago
        Hi Lynn, and thank you so so much for the encouragement. I can't say how much it means to hear all that. We are twins :-). Anorexic in high school also, and so grateful to have recovered... but I realize I did this to myself 35 years ago. Ready to go forward and deal with it. Lynn, I wonder what meds you have done to stabilize? Would love to know. AND THANKS SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU WHO POSTED, AND BLESS YOU
      • over 1 year ago
        Hi everyone, I had an eating disorder for 15 years so now I know how I got this. I got some of the vitamins today and will start to take them, thank you Faith, also if anyone has taken the medications for this could you tell me if it worked and what are the side effects. I looked some up online and they list all the side effects which is scary. thank you all, keep healthy
      • over 1 year ago
        Jasmine - Keep reading, eat healthy including fats, and continue taking vitamins and weight bearing exercising. It sounds like you are doing the right thing, asking lots of questions, and yes, I will be interested in hearing what medicine is helpful. There is hope.
      • over 1 year ago
        Hi Faith, Thank you for your input, it is not as scary when others have the same thing and are doing good. I have been doing weight bearing exercises, at first I was afraid to even move for fear of my back breaking but thanks to the internet I know what to do, I have two daughters and just the fear of not being able to take care of them was a lot. they are very active so we all go walking together. I am feeling so much better after reading all the positive posts, Thank you for that and bless you. Jasmine
      • over 1 year ago
        Just can't get over all the great posts and how much it has helped me face this head on. I already do lots of walking and some weight training, so got that covered. A retired radiologist whom I know and love said that Fosamax is a "no-brainer," so yes on that. Already started a calcium/D/K supplement called "Bone Up," though I may try low dose estrogen to possibly improve absorption. I need to start drinking some milk.....i am easing into that one. I found a fitness place where I can pay out of pocket for a second bone scan just to see what it says and probably reinforce my commitment. I really proud of all of us for dealing with this thing, and gosh it is so true that of all the conditions we could have this one's far preferable to so many. Thank you again so much to each of you....faith and llyn, you guys gave me HOPE.... hey, and you guys keep posting on your progress! Bless you all ------
      • over 1 year ago
        Will continue to post Live4ward! And everyone's support is so incredible that it has helped me so much as well. I'll let you know what I find out with my doctor in February. Bless you all and keep exercising!
      • over 1 year ago
        Sounds like you're very positive and moving forward. I will tell you though, having a bone density scan less than 2 years apart will not give you any information. Bone is very slow to respond to change - increase or decrease. You have to be patient, wait the two years, and the rescan at the same place. I'm glad to see that the 2nd scan you had was on a calibrated machine. Sounds like the first one was rather sketchy. One thing to avoid are the ultrasound heel scans that are done at health fairs and such. They are designed to determine if you need to have a DXA. They are not diagnostic and cannot be used to determine bone density. Many people (including health professionals) don't truly understand this.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    Hi, I was just diagnosed with osteoporosis as well. I’m almost 55 and have not taken any meds due to fear of side affects. I take all the require supplements, walk lots and am working on the weights. Is there any chance to fight this without taking the RX? Help!! Suggestions!!
      • over 1 year ago
        I researched osteoporosis in college years ago. At the time there was an older lady who had completely reversed severe osteoporosis entirely through lifestyle, nutrition and exercise. I believe it is possible if a person will put in the effort.
      • over 1 year ago
        Short answer - No. If you have osteoporosis (T-score of less than -2.5 or have had a nontraumatic fracture as an adult) you need a medication. Nothing else will strengthen your bones. You'll need the 1200 mg of calcium every day (taken twice a day, 600 mg at a time) and 1000 IU of Vit D.

        About exercise - weight bearing exercise does not mean using weights. In fact, if you have osteoporosis, it can actually contribute to spinal fractures.
        Weight bearing exercise is anything done on your feet - supporting your whole body weight. Walking is the best. Not biking, swimming or running.

        Don't be afraid of medication side effects. Nothing in this world is without side effects on some people. My husband is deathly allergic to strawberries. How much more natural can you get than those? If you take a medicine that doesn't agree with you, try another. Just like with antibiotics (speaking of side effects!) you might have to go through trial and error.

        Two years after you begin a medication, repeat your bone density test at the same testing center. That's how you'll get an accurate result, assuming that your tech is certified in bone density testing.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    Hi. I am 48 and pre menopausal and also have low bone density which I’ve known for a while but also just went for a dexa scan after not having one for 4 years and it showed an 11% decrease in the femoral neck (down to -2.4). I also was freaking out as I am very active and feel like I am in the best shape of my life. My OBGYN sent me to a rheumatologist and she is ordering blood work but said no meds, and wants me to get more calcium from foods like ricotta cheese etc as opposed to just supplements. I am very thin and struggled with an eating disorder in my 20s. It is very upsetting but she said risk of fracture is more than just the dexa score so the good news is we have time!! Stay active and eat well and remain positive!!
      • over 1 year ago
        Thank you! Is it really true we can’t reverse the density loss by diet and exercise?
      • over 1 year ago
        I’ve heard different things about this and would appreciate other’s input. I’ve heard it can’t be reversed however I believe the “scores” can improve if the bone loss is halted or slowed as we age.
      • over 1 year ago
        I'm told we can slow the progression OR EVEN HALT IT, but not increase scores past our 30s except with a med that interferes with the cells that cause bone deterioration. But all that good diet and exercise stuff DEFINITELY slows it and is awesome. (by the way, consider a second opinion? see my post on this)
      • over 1 year ago
        Yes, diet and exercise alone will not reverse osteoporosis. Once you reach a certain stage, you'll need a medication. So many of my patients would put off taking the RX out of fear or denial or whatever. The sad thing is, they continued to lose bone all during that time. The more bone you lose, the harder it is to keep what you have healthy and strong. By the time, they fractured and wanted RX, they were a lot further down the T-score scale. You can't bring a number back into the normal range. You can, however, strengthen your existing bone and stop the breaking.

        There's an excellent website www.nof.org (The National Osteoporosis Foundation) that has a good Q&A section. They address all thing relating to bone health. I think you'll find answers to questions you didn't even know you had.
      • over 1 year ago
        One thing I want to say about improving scores. The DXA machine only measures the calcium in your body. So...if you have a lot of arthritis in your spine or hip - or bone spurs, it can appear as more bone, thereby giving you a higher score. If that happens, the technician should scan your forearm as the bone in the forearm is similar to that of the spine. The spine results would be thrown out in the analyzation of your test.

        Also, as I stated in another post - results aren't determined by T-score. In fact, sometimes we'd get a T-score that was actually higher than the previous one, but when we did our calculations, the BMD numbers showed a decrease. Be sure to have your test done at a reliable certified place and interpreted by someone who's also certified clinician in reading DXA results.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    I'm freaked out as well. I'm 54 and in good health but had ovarian failure and early menopause in my 40s. I have always been thin. I too did not get enough calcium as a child, but drink about 1/2 gallon of milk a day and take Vitamin D. I figured that my bone density would be okay; however, I had my first bone density exam this month and received result similar to yours. I am taking Calcium and Vitamin D now on a daily basis and have been reading about the various drugs to treat osteoporosis. Seems they all have negative, scary side effects. Please let me know which treatment protocol you went and if you have experienced any side effects since beginning treatment. I recently started weight training....I have never have used weights before and hope to preserve the bone density I do have. I too am worried about compression fractures in my spine...
      • over 1 year ago
        Hello,

        I am coming up on 55 years. I had a hysterectomy when I was 40 yrs old and had both my ovaries removed. Have been on HRT since then yet i have been weaning off significantly. I have never struggled with weight until these last few years.
        My last Dex scan was six month ago and it showed my osteoporosis has worsened. So, this all has led me to see an endocrinologist. Honestly, I felt my appointment was more a sales pitch to get me on medication.
        I take all the supplements suggested and also know to strengthen muscles surrounding bones is very important.

        So.... I’m planning to get another doctors opinion, I’m planning to see a holistic person and get all thoughts.
        It’s extremely frustrating hearing both sides of medicine bashing each other.

        I am hoping to hear from you ladies, your successes, your suggestions and what you know to be truth and facts!
      • over 1 year ago
        Hi Marnee and all -

        I went to my OB yesterday and I am not that much closer to an answer. One thing she suggested which I think all of you consider is getting a second bone density test. According to her, variations occur in bone density testing due to the technician who is doing the evaluation. I am not trying to give false hope but it is definitely something that you might consider.

        I am also undergoing some additional testing including a 24 hour urine collection to see if I am losing too much calcium.

        Still thinking about HRT and homeopathic as sometimes I experience fatigue and headaches.

        Assuming all is non remarkable, my OB/GYN is recommending Forteo to add bone mass. My endocrinologist recommended a different drug so it is all very confusing. I know nothing about this Forteo but that is next on my list. I've been busy at work but will let you all know what I find out.

        In the meantime, keep reading, keep exercising and eating right. And maybe take another bone density test to rule that out.

        Thinking of you all...
      • over 1 year ago
        Hi ladies -

        A very quick update!!!!! I just found out the results of my second bone density and I do NOT have osteoporosis - still osteopenia!!!!

        Still this is a HUGE wakeup call to me to keep exercising and eating right for my bones!

        My OB who is a specialist in osteoporosis read my scan herself so I feel so fortunate. And thank God as well as He has a hand in everything.

        Please go out and get one more test if you have not done so and from a clinic that is reputable.

        Hang in there, keep exercising with weights and walking, and eating right! Thinking of you all as we go down this path.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    I've been labeled with osteo since age 57, I took the meds, had a once a year infusion for 3 years and now take a shot 2 times a year, I'm 80, ride a motorcycle, western dance, ride a bike and have had no problems. I did break my wrist a couple of years ago after a fall on concrete but nothing else. Don't be afraid you can turn low calcium around and build bone with medication. I had short periods and barely noticed menopause too.
      • over 1 year ago
        Hi, my Mom is 78 & has had osteo for 20+ years. She took the daily med for a short time but stopped due side affects. Her test have been fine but last year they should treat loss. She has just seen a Endocrinologist. She wants her to go on Prolia but she is very afraid of the side affects. Is this what you take.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    I haven't been onboard for a while, retired and got custody of my 15 year old grandson, but let me weigh in. I worked (for those of you who aren't familiar with my posts) for the past 21 years in an internationally accredited hospital affiliated osteoporosis center. There's nothing you post that I haven't seen or heard.

    So specifically about your situation....living a healthy lifestyle is great but is no guarantee against osteoporosis. Sometimes it's just the luck of the genes. The fact that you were low weight, low estrogen and vegan certainly plays into your low bone density. I have had this same conversation with my sister in law - who is in complete horror and denial of her osteoporosis. She also teaches yoga, so we've had numerous conversations about proper body positions to avoid fracture.

    The good news for you is that you're young. Your body will not grow more bone, but you can keep what you have healthy and reduce your chances of having another fracture. People who fracture once are twice as likely to fracture again. Having osteoporosis in your 40's or 50's is not as dangerous as in your later years.

    Here's my advice and insight for you. You need 1200 mg of calcium every day. The majority of people do not get it in their diets. The reason being that your body will only absorb 500-600 mg at a time. Any more than that is peed out. Best to take a supplement. Doesn't matter what kind. Calcium is a mineral and not broken down. Don't be spending a lot of $$ at a health food store thinking you're getting the best. Tums and a multivitamin are fine too.

    You need 1000 IU of Vit D each day. You'll need a supplement for that as people over age 50 do not make it from the sunlight like they did when they were kids. It's what sends the calcium to the bones.

    Exercise - be careful. No running. It pounds the spines and can fracture the tiny struts within the vertebrae. When that happens often enough, you have a compression fracture. No bending forward from the waist or side to side twisting of the spine. Remember too, calcium is excreted in your sweat, so if you are perspiring heavily, you're losing calcium.

    Take a medication. Talk to your doctor about which one you take. They all will reduce your risk of fracturing. It's not about the T-score. It's about your risks. The meds won't rebuild your bone (except Forteo, and that's for the frailest of the frail), but they will make what bone you have stronger. Medications do not take the place of calcium. In fact, they won't work if you don't give them the calcium to work with. Don't be afraid of any possible side effects. Everything has side effects, even natural stuff.

    What you want to do is not fracture. Get a repeat DXA 2 years after your last one. DO NOT look at the T-score as an indication of improvement. That's not how it works. I suggest you ask the person doing the test if she is credentialed by the ISCD (the governing body of all things osteoporosis). If she isn't or looks at your blankly, have your test done somewhere else. You won't be getting verified information. If you really want to throw them, ask them if they do a precision test on the machine and how often. That's where they scan a person 2-3 times to see how closely they can replicate the test. They then go through a series of calculations to determine the LSC (lowest significant change) or error of margin. This is extremely important to do. Otherwise an inch or two difference on how you're lying on the table can determine whether you've improved and whether or not you take a medication.

    My soapbox. Too many places put unqualified people doing DXA testing because the requirements for it are not regulated. There's money in testing too. And most radiologists and doctors are not credentialed in interpreting bone density tests. You can look at the website www.iscd.org to find a testing place and doctor who do know what they're doing. If one is near you, I'd suggest you go there.

    Sorry this long. I hope I've given you some valuable information. Best of luck to you.
      • over 1 year ago
        Bonebabe and all -

        What an excellent post and so good for us all to hear. I urge everyone to follow your advice about bone scans. Again it is a wakeup call for all of us to continue leading a healthy lifestyle and seeking out the best advice.

        I have just reread all of the posts and they are all brilliant and inspiring to me to continue working out and keeping my body strong.

        I have just upped my hand weights to 10 lbs from 5 lbs. I am not very good at using them - but I am trying...I told my 22 year old daughter that I was working out with weights and she said that I will have "2 tickets to the gun show". Ha!

        You ladies in your 60s, 70s and 80s - motorcycles! - you go girls! You are my inspiration!

        Hope you all have a blessed day and keep walking, working out, eating right, and being you!
      • 1 month ago
        In response to "bonebabe" - since you worked at a hospital affiliated with osteoporosis and have seemed to been in contact with so many different conditions, I'd like your opinion on my situation. I do have osteoporosis and am currently on Prolia after taking Fosamax for years. I also have Scoliosis and have had 3 surgeries on my back. I had a double curve, and my first surgery was at 26, an older age than normal (kind of a long story). I was put in traction for almost a month, operated on (fused 2 Harrington rods to my spine) and wore a body cast for 11 months. My third surgery was on my lower back and the rods were taken out and the doctor used spinal cages. That surgery was when I was in my late 50's. I am now 69 and have osteoporosis. It seems my back is more boney (?) than ever, and I am concerned as to how the spinal cages will be held with the deterioration of the bones. When I do get a dexa scan, they can only do my forearm and hip because of the cages. Have you heard of anyone else in this situation and what I can expect in the future? Thanks for any information you can provide!
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Help...I'm freaking out over bone density test!

    AFTER SUFFERING WITH JOINT PAINS FOR MANY YEARS AFTER MY TIME IN THE SERVICE MY DAUGHTER RECOMMENDED THIS PRODUCT TO ME AND ITS BEEN A GOD SEND . I CANT DESCRIBE HOW THANKFUL I AM TO HAVE FOUND A SOLUTION , IF YOUR STORY IS ANYTHING LIKE MINE YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO ATLEAST CHECK THIS HEAVENLY PRODUCT OUT
    << https://bit.ly/2KSQpak >>> CHECK IT OUT NOW !!!