I broke a finger 2 1/2 years ago, and the doctor thought it was an unusual break, and wanted me to get a DEXA scan, the test for bone density. My mother was well involved in osteoporosis by then, with the humped back and had broken a hip, from which she didn’t recover well enough to walk again. She spent the last 3 years of her life in a wheelchair.
I had the bone density scan then and it showed I had moderate osteopenia, which is a smaller amount of bone loss than osteoporosis. With a family history (a maternal aunt also has osteoporosis) and a DEXA scan like that in my 60’s, I wanted to do what I could to improve this.
The doc gave me one of the meds that builds bone, one that many women take. But I’ve had some strange reactions to several meds and this med raised my BP. I stopped taking it. And, I read about some other ways to increase bone density. Eating more vegetables is one way and that was easy cos I like vegetables and salads, etc. Also, adding calcium supplements, with vitamin D included to help the calcium absorb better; that was easy. And, weight bearing exercise.
So I got a membership at the gym. Walking is weight bearing exercise, so going to the gym and walking on the treadmill seemed pretty easy to do too. The gym isn’t far from my house, and my favorite grocery store is right next to it, so there’s an excuse to take a trip thru there almost every time I go to the gym. And I made up my mind I would do this, and stick with it, and have, for about 2 years. I go at least 5 days a week, usually 6, and walk about 1 1/4 miles each time.
So last week I had a follow up DEXA scan. Bone density is measured by that test in 3 places. All three of my numbers were up! I not only stopped bone loss, I increased bone density in my hip bones and lower back. I still have osteopenia, and this is something I’ll have to continue to work on the rest of my life, but it’s not that hard to do what I needed to do and it sure has paid off for me.
Sometimes medical issues are things you can’t change, and sometimes there are ways to change them. Walking is good exercise all around for somebody my age, and now when I’m walking, I know for sure I’m doing it for all sorts of good reasons. As my family doc says, getting old(er) is not for the faint of heart. And sometimes you have to fight against it.