Do You Think About Your Bones?
Bones, bones, bones! I have become obsessed with my bones. As many of you know, I had treatments for breast cancer in 2016. It seems that a side-effect of the treatments has made my bones more fragile than they ought to be. Naturally, I am a big believer in being an advocate for myself, so I began my research. I am not one to believe everything a doctor tells me, so I needed to find out for myself. I thought you might like to hear what I learned.
I was prescribed the drug Anastrozole which essentially knocks all the estrogen out of the body. I was supposed to take it for five years and maybe more. I took it for a year and that trusted little voice in my head began saying, “You need to get a DEXA scan.” A DEXA scan is recommended mainly for women after menopause to check on the density of their bones. I told my doctor that I wanted to get that done immediately. No waiting for me, especially not when that voice starts pestering me. I have learned to listen to that voice.
Well, the results came back and sure enough, I have osteopenia which is a precursor to osteoporosis. This did not make me very happy. I am not a big fan of bones that break easily. I stopped taking the drug and now I am going about the business of repairing my bones.
Here’s my plan. This will help youbuild up your bones too.
My doctor told me to take a vitamin supplement which contains, magnesium citrate, calcium, citrate, and vitamin D3 twice a day. This combination is pretty easy to find. I am adding more vitamin D3 to that now that summer is closing down and I probably won’t be out in the sun as much. I would rather get my nutrients from real food, but in this case, I decided to listen to the doctor.
The next step is to eat even more dark leafy greens, which contain calcium and other minerals a body needs to build bones. I decided to be brave and start eating sardines, which are loaded with good fats and calcium. I have actually learned to like them. Also, nuts and seeds are on the menu.
Fortunately, I do not drink soda, which is extremely bad for bones and teeth. If you love your soft drinks, you might want to cut down for the sake of your bones.
Doing weight baring exercise is also essential for stimulating the body to grow more dense bones. I had gotten a bit wimpy after my treatments, so now I am stepping up my weights and walking more. I even tried a little jog. Weightlifting and doing body weight exercises like push ups and squats are also good for strengthening your bones. In general, resistance exercises using weights or your own body weight are excellent for this.
It is a good idea to get a baseline DEXA scan -- particularly if you think you might be at risk for osteoporosis. If you smoke, drink a lot of soft drinks containing phosphoric acid like Coke, drink alcohol to excess, are light skinned or Asian, have small bones, or have a history of osteoporosis in your family, you are most likely at higher risk. Also, medications like steroids and cancer treatments can create fragile bones. It is always a good idea to advocate for yourself. ask your doctor about getting a scan because chances are he/she will not ask you first.
Until next time,
Good bones to you,