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Thread: Osteoporosis

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    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Osteoporosis

    My wife of 53 was just diagnosed with osteoporosis today. The doc said she could see some signs of it in her hips. She has been taking calcium but the doc wants her to up the dosage and then take another medication the first 2 days of every month and she feels that within a couple of years provided she stays active which she is that she should see some good results and reversal of this condition. Anyone elses' wife or any of the women that read this forum have experience with this condition. Is there anything I can do besides offer moral support to help? We have a healthy diet and excercise don't smoke or drink and try to watch the sugar intake. Getting old sucks. I told her "welcome to middle age honey you still rock"

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    I was diagnosed this spring too, and my scan showed it in my spine, but not hips. I'm taking Fosamax, once a week, and upped my calcium to 1600mg per day. I'm also supposed to walk 30 minutes a day & there is a video I bought that is supposed to help with bone building. I bought one on ebay. The name of it is Joyce Vedral's Bone Building Bodyshaping Workout. Here is her website: http://www.joycevedral.com/

    I think it was my caffeine addiction that contributed to my osteoporosis. Caffeine leaches the calcium out of your bones. I had heard that several years ago & thought "hmm, I should cut back" but I didn't. My dr. did say that if I take the Fosamax (which helps the bones absorb calcium) along with the extra Calcium, and do the daily exercise and walking, I should have my bone mass back to the normal level in a year.

    HTH

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    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Sounds similiar to my wife except she doesn't drink coffee although she does have a desk job so she needs to walk more and I can help her with that.

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    I didn't drink coffee either. I was a Pepsi & tea addict. Good that you will walk with her. Dh doesn't like to walk, so I end up walking alone or with the dog.

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    Old Fogy
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    I suppose you've all heard that heavy, non-weight bearing exercise, such as swimming or bicycling, can lead to bone mass loss? When I heard about that, I started on a calcium supplement and twice weekly walks of four to ten miles. It is not something that affects only women.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldowales View Post
    I suppose you've all heard that heavy, non-weight bearing exercise, such as swimming or bicycling, can lead to bone mass loss? When I heard about that, I started on a calcium supplement and twice weekly walks of four to ten miles. It is not something that affects only women.
    No, I never heard that before either. I guess that's why my dr was against swimming & bicycling. Of course, two years ago when I was complaining of knee & hip pain, that's what he suggested.

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    My youngest son (40) had severe osteoporosis. With Fosamax and calcium, he has reduced that to osteopenia (a much lesser form of osteoporosis). We discovered it when he fell out of bed during a seizure and broke his back at L5, resulting in paralysis.

    Moderate/intense bicycling is highly associated with osteoporosis, which is why I do a lot of HEAVY weight lifting (light weight lifting isn't of much help) and walking.


    Here is some previous discussion on the topic.

    ====================================================

    50+ Update on osteoporosis, bicycling and aging

    50+ Update on osteoporosis, bicycling and aging

    Sometime back I posted this info on osteoporosis, aging and bicycling.



    From Bicycling Magazine which came to my home on 01-23-04

    Some quotes:

    While discussing an orthopedic surgeon/cross country biker age 51 who seemed in excellent health, " . . . the appearance and vitality of a man far younger than his 51 years. He also has the low bone denisty of a man in his 70's and is on the road to osteoporosis."

    "27 male racers ages 40-60 . . . trained average of 12.2 hours a week for 20 years . . . bone densities were 10% lower than a control group . . . Clinically, 10 percent thinning is significant - not good - almost frightening."

    "2/3rd's of the cyclists studied already showed signs of at least osteopenia (moderate bone loss). Four had full blown osteoporosis."

    "Rich Templin, a legendary mega-miler, has the hip and lower-spine bone densities of someone almost twice his age."

    "You are at increased risk if you are Caucasian or asian, have a parent with osteoporosis, trained to excess as a youth, or took steroids."

    In addition to elite cyclists being particularly at risk, it seems that even recreational cyclists are somewhat at risk.

    The mechanism: Calcium is lost through sweat (something we cyclists know about). To be replaced, osteoclasts prep bones to receive a new layer of calcium. As we age, less is replaced, but this can be stopped with a good diet combined with physical activity that includes physical impact, G-Forces and vibration (road biking does not give enough vibration).

    Suggestions -

    1. Calcium and Vit D supplements (1,200 "Ca" spread over the day along with 400-800 IU of "d").

    2. Yogurt and milk

    3. No smoking, less alcohol, and really less soda, (phosphates really depletes the Ca)

    4. Lift weights at least 2x's/wk, YEAR ROUND. It suggests heavy lifting to failure.

    5. Back exercises such as extensions 2x's week

    6. Run, hike, skip rope or jump around.

    7. Stand up on your bike more often.

    8. Mountain bike more

    9. Get a bone scan.

    The article is much longer. I have just presented the highlights.

    "For recreational riders, cycling is not as good, bone-wise, as other fitness activities."


    ==================

    This is a recent post from BikeJournal.com.

    "I just saw this in the latest RoadBike Rider newsletter , and thought of this thread and thought it fit here. Hope Ya'll enjoy the read! Bone Health

    Cycling is a great way to get fit and stay healthy, but it isn't perfect. We were reminded of this by an e-mail we received last Saturday from a Northern California roadie:

    "Two male members (in their late 60s) of my bike club here in Sacramento experienced broken hips and femurs in low-speed falls. Both are lifetime high-mileage bicyclists. Tests revealed that they had lost bone density, and this condition was blamed on relying solely on cycling for exercise. They were advised to take up walking, hiking and other weight-bearing activities to help prevent further advancement of osteoporosis. Have you heard of this problem?"

    Yes, and here is some information about it from RBR's Fred Matheny:

    There is indeed an apparent link between long-term cycling and osteoporosis. The cause seems to be that cycling isn't a weight-bearing activity so doesn't stimulate bone retention.

    This first came to my attention in the mid 1990s when, as Fitness/Training editor for Bicycling magazine, I saw a study in which six pro road racers showed an alarming loss (as much as 17%) of bone density during the three-week Tour de France.

    A more recent study at San Diego State University demonstrated that two-thirds of the masters bike racers tested had, on average, 10% more bone-density loss when compared with the control group. In this study the marker seemed to be low testosterone levels, which correlate with low levels of bone density.

    So for cyclists, the advice is to crosstrain with weight-bearing activities like running, hiking and weight lifting.

    Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 1,000-1,300 milligrams of calcium per day for men, the amount found in about three glasses of calcium-fortified milk. Women will do well to get a similar amount.

    Avoid soda because carbonated drinks, especially colas, are high in phosphorous, which blocks calcium absorption. Use alcohol in moderation and, of course, don't smoke.

    Bone density can be measured with a quick, painless test. Ask your physician about it, particularly if you're 40 or older and been cycling at the exclusion of weight-bearing activities. The debilitating effects of osteoporosis can be arrested with medications as well as improvements in diet, lifestyle and types of exercise."
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-09-07 at 05:22 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I just had a test last month and I have it as well. I started to take calcum, but the medicine was $30 for 4 pills and I was told that in January it's going to be generic so I'll wait until then, before I get on it.
    George

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    George, my dr. told me that Fosamax will soon be OTC also.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntieM View Post
    George, my dr. told me that Fosamax will soon be OTC also.
    Thank you very much, I'll keep a close watch.
    George

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    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Odd thing my wife doesn't smoke drink alchohol or soda and she does lift weights and runs so this is kind of a shock to her but she is pretty unfazed by it she will do what the doc says and keep doing what she does right and not do the things that aren't good for her and she should be fine. Lots of good info in that article

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    I found out I had it about 5 years ago. My original doctor put me on Actonel and said taking two calcium a day was fine. He had me do bone scans every other year. Now that I have switched heath care and am with Kaiser, my new doctor changed me to Fosomax with D and told me to take an additional calcium a day. He said that after the first bone scan it wasn't necessary to do any more. He said once you have it (osteoporosis) you have it period, it doesn't get any better but the Fosomax will make it so I don't lose any more bone. I do weights at the gym three times a week and walk 40 miles a week. I did crack a couple of ribs about 3 years ago when I flipped off my bike but other then that I haven't had any problems. My husband has a cycling friend (male) who also has osteoporosis but has decided only to take calcium and do some weight bearing exercises. I hate the thought of being on a medicine for the rest of my life but if it will prevent me from breaking a bone then I am all for it. Since this is the ONLY medicine I am on, I feel pretty lucky. It's amazing how many people in the medical field don't know what Fosomax or Actonel is for, guess they aren't old enough to know.

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    "He said once you have it (osteoporosis) you have it period, it doesn't get any better but the Fosomax will make it so I don't lose any more bone."

    My son has gotten measurably better on Fosamax, and continues to do so.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stringbreaker View Post
    Odd thing my wife doesn't smoke drink alchohol or soda and she does lift weights and runs so this is kind of a shock to her but she is pretty unfazed by it she will do what the doc says and keep doing what she does right and not do the things that aren't good for her and she should be fine. Lots of good info in that article
    My wife was diagnosed positive about same age as your wife is. She drinks moderate amount of coffee and alcohol. She is lactose and "Evista" intolerant.

    The good news: She takes and tolerates "Viactiv" or "Caltrate" plus "Centrum". She exercises 1.5 to two hours per day on a treadmill, recumbent trainer, weights, Curves, hikes, bikes with me on a Tandem 50 miles/week. All of that has stabilized her condition as tested by her doctor every six months.
    She tolerates some selected cheeses and eats that regularly.

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    my wife also has osteoporosis. I get her calcium citrate at Whole Foods. She gets
    2 with breakfast. I also give her a Whole Foods mature women's multivitamin with breakfast that has 200mg of calcium.

    With dinner I give her a Viactiv calcium chewable. Or I should, I forgot tonite.

    It will take time, but you can beat this.

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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I concur with Denver's first post. There is no substitute for weight-bearing exercise, including walking or jogging for the legs and weightlifting for the arms and spine. If your only form of exercise is bicycling, you are at relatively high risk of osteoporosis.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    "He said once you have it (osteoporosis) you have it period, it doesn't get any better but the Fosomax will make it so I don't lose any more bone."

    My son has gotten measurably better on Fosamax, and continues to do so.
    Also, the wife of my son's endocrinologist went from severe osteo to no osteo on Fosamax.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Would 3 months make that much difference, waiting for the drug prices to go down or do you think I should get on them as soon as I can?
    George

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    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litespeed View Post
    I found out I had it about 5 years ago. My original doctor put me on Actonel and said taking two calcium a day was fine. He had me do bone scans every other year. Now that I have switched heath care and am with Kaiser, my new doctor changed me to Fosomax with D and told me to take an additional calcium a day. He said that after the first bone scan it wasn't necessary to do any more. He said once you have it (osteoporosis) you have it period, it doesn't get any better but the Fosomax will make it so I don't lose any more bone.
    I've been on Actonel for a couple years and my latest bone scan shows improvement in the spine and wrists areas. The medication not only helps to stop the loss of bone but it also aids in rebuilding bones.
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    bobkat
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    All the good advice has been covered. Although biking (or swimming) is great aerobic exercise it takes weight bearing exercise to help out with bone density. (one reason paradoxically why being overweight helps - hip fractures tend to be in thin post menopausal women, not overweight ones!)
    A bone that is supporting weight gets strong and stays strong! I suppose for a biker one could encourage biking standing up more, or even remove the seat on a DF, but that wouldn't be very practical!
    Estogen used to be used but now is not now recommended because of a tiny increased risk of breast cancer and possibly heart disease. I don't know if the trade off for someone with severe osteoporosis unresponsive with other therapy would be justified or not!?! Haven't kept up with the current literature or recommendations.

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    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Would 3 months make that much difference, waiting for the drug prices to go down or do you think I should get on them as soon as I can?
    I'm not a doctor......but here are my thoughts.

    The medication doesn't work quickly. Most doctors recommend calcium supplements and exercise in addition to the medications. Maybe you could do the supplements and exercise while you're waiting?
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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    I'm not a doctor......but here are my thoughts.

    The medication doesn't work quickly. Most doctors recommend calcium supplements and exercise in addition to the medications. Maybe you could do the supplements and exercise while you're waiting?
    Thanks Beverly, that's what I'm doing now. My wife is on so many drugs I have to stand in line . Not that I mind though.
    George

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    bobkat
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    Bev's right. Ca supplements, adequate vitamin D, and weight bearing exercise, with or without Fosamax, Actonel, etc. Treating or preventing osteoporosis is a long term-long haul thing. A few months probably wouldn't make much difference in the long run.
    I'd question Kaiser's policy that there is no need to repeat a bone scan. How else can you determine whether you are winning or losing the battle and whether other tactics should be tried? Sure, no point wasting money by repeating it too frequently but because of the long term aspect of the condition, most people recommend repeating it in a year or two to see where you are at! Kaiser's policy sounds like a cost saving thing by an HMO. I'd bet Denverfox would have something to say about that!

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobkat View Post
    Bev's right. Ca supplements, adequate vitamin D, and weight bearing exercise, with or without Fosamax, Actonel, etc. Treating or preventing osteoporosis is a long term-long haul thing. A few months probably wouldn't make much difference in the long run.
    I'd question Kaiser's policy that there is no need to repeat a bone scan. How else can you determine whether you are winning or losing the battle and whether other tactics should be tried? Sure, no point wasting money by repeating it too frequently but because of the long term aspect of the condition, most people recommend repeating it in a year or two to see where you are at! Kaiser's policy sounds like a cost saving thing by an HMO. I'd bet Denverfox would have something to say about that!
    Me say anything negative about Kaiser - naw! Kaiser trying to save money by not using appropriate tests? Naw, never happen!

    Andy's Bone scan is repeated annually. BTW, it MUST be done on the same machine each time, as it seems there is a lack of standardization between machines. This is how we have documented my son's amazing increase in bone density after his treatment with Fosamax.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    bobkat
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    It's a lot easier and cheaper (HMO beancounters take note!) to prevent a fracture than to treat one! Especially hip fractures. Extensive studies have been done on the social and medical consequences of hip fractures in the elderly. Most of us don't consider ourselves "elderly" but we hopefully will all get there sometime! Anyway, the bottom line is that hip fractures can be disasterous in older age groups in a whole host of ways - with people losing their independence, even the projected expected death rates being incredibly elevated in the couple of years following the fracture. Ask an orthopedic surgeon how many people die of a hip fracture and they'll say "very rarely someone may have a heart attack, PE, or other complication but by and large they do well!" Yes, until you follow them for the next few years and see how many of their lives change for the worse, or end......
    So osteoporosis can be a real largely preventable killer, nothing to get overly neurotic over, but NOT to be taken lightly, either!
    Aside from the medical aspects of fracture prevention little things like hand rails, grab bars in bathrooms, stairways, etc. are important preventative things but that's another topic having nothing to do with biking. Used to be thought that one falls and breaks a hip. What happens more frequently is that some minor new stress is added to a brittle bone, the bone breaks, and then the person falls. Or a fall on an outstretched hand breaks a weakened bone (radius) that would have never broken prior to the slow weakening of osteoporosis.
    Anyway, the bottom line is that our biking is great aerobic activity, but osteoporosis prevention is more subtle and should be approached seriously along a different path.
    Just had a brilliant idea! Oh, Oh.....
    Maybe all of us old people with osteoporosis should only ride recumbent lowracers so we wouldn't have so far to fall if we get in a wreck! Wonder if I could write off a lowracer with the IRS as "fracture prevention?" Ha! Just kidding!

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