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Building My Bone Strength

By Helene

I was in my mid-to-late 40s when my doctor suggested that, because of my family history of osteoporosis, I should begin to monitor my bone density by going for a bone scan. I agreed and went along for the scan, imagining that this would provide a baseline measurement for possible deterioration in the future. I was very surprised when I was called in to my doctor’s office and learned that I had early stages of osteopenia. I was told that osteopenia was mild thinning of the bone mass and that it was very important to manage this condition if my bone health was to remain stable as I aged.

I had always been an intermittent exerciser and was rather inconsistent in ensuring that I was incorporating enough calcium into my diet. Despite my family history of osteoporosis I just had not taken the right precautions. It was quite a shock to come to terms with the fact that I was now saddled with a lifelong task – that of building up bone strength and preventing further deterioration. 

Under the guidance of my family doctor, I began a strict regimen of vitamins, minerals and a nutritional supplement to aid in the absorption of calcium. I also began to walk for at least 40 minutes per day.  I became very aware of my bones and worked hard to follow the advice of my doctor.

Two years later I went for another bone density scan and was pleased to find that there had been a fairly significant improvement in my condition. I was so relieved.

Unfortunately it is easy to let go again when you think that things are better and I slowly let things slide. I didn’t walk as often as I had before and didn’t remember to take my supplements every day.  The next scan showed some deterioration but not as bad as what had been visible on the first bone density scan. I was also shocked to hear that my sister, who is five years younger than I am, was diagnosed with full-blown osteoporosis.

I have now accepted that I have no choice but to take this condition seriously and I have to ensure that I am receiving the appropriate doses of calcium, minerals and vitamins as well as engaging in regular weight-bearing exercise. My job allows me to be on my feet for most of the day but, in addition, I do try to walk for 40 minutes at least five days a week.

I realize that with some relatively minor lifestyle changes I can help to ensure that my bones remain healthy as I age.

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  • Women's College Hospital