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  • Anonymous
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      If you have been getting stress fractures, you should definitely get a bone density test done. This can be ordered by any primary care doctor, btw, not just the endo or osteoporosis specialist. You could have the test done and copies of the report sent to the endo, for example, if you wanted to have the test in your endo’s hands when you went to see him/her.

      Osteoporosis is a condition that develops as we age. It affects women more than men, but it DOES affect men, too. Up until the age of about 25 or so we are, optimally, adding to our bone mass all the time. Then there is a period of equilibrium (not gaining or losing bone mass) that lasts until our mid-thirties or so. After that, we start to lose bone mass. Some individuals lose faster than others. There are key “markers” that can determine whether or not an individual is in a higher risk group of developing osteoporosis faster than average, but we ALL lose bone mass as we age. There are some, special situations in which someone could lose bone mass faster than he/she normally would have, as well. Genetics plays a role. Life-style can play a role: smokers lose bone mass faster than non-smokers as a rule.

      Where does GD enter in? People with too much thyroid hormone lose bone mass faster than others. It depends upon how long we were hyperthyroid, undiagnosed, as to how much damage the thyroid issues contributed to the overall condition. But being on too high a dose of replacement hormone, after a thyroidectomy or RAI, can also contribute to bone loss. Remember that replacement hormone IS thyroid hormone. So if you insist on too high a level of replacement because you “feel” better at that level, you may be adversely affecting the composition of your bones. Also, steroids contribute to the loss of bones. Those people who have had to take prednisone for extended periods of time in order to try to control TED symptoms, are at greater-than-normal risk.

      There ARE things which can be done to help us. There are medications available that have been shown to work to slow down the loss of bone. Exercise is important. But it must be WEIGHT-BEARING exercise — like walking, lifting weights, etc. Swimming, for example, although an excellent form of exercise for fitness purposes, is not a weight-bearing exercise and will not help the bones. The weight-bearing types of exercise stimulate the body to retain, or build (depending upon our age) bone. Getting calcium supplementation into the diet is important if we are not eating enough of the right types of foods — and most of us don’t.

      So, the important thing is to be aware that we are all at greater risk for developing osteoporosis sooner than we would have “normally”, and to talk with our doctors about bone density tests, and the proper types of nutrition, exercise, and supplements.

      Bobbi — NGDF Asst. ONline Facilitator
      Bobbi@ngdf.org

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