As Midlife Women, it’s easy to see the effects of time upon our bodies. We develop wrinkles, gray hair, cellulite–the list goes on. Every time we look in a mirror we remember that we’re aging. What we need to remember though is this: many of the changes caused by aging are invisible. Bone health is one of those things we can’t see from the outside, but it’s critical to our well-being. The whole time we’re stressing about our crow’s-feet, our skeletons might be turning into dust.
Yesterday I attended an event that offered me a free bone density screening. Oops. I sorta flunked.
The event was a wellness seminar devoted to Seniors, and rather adorable. Retirement homes had loaded their buses up with residents, all of whom were eager to go out on a field trip. Vendors offered discounts on medical alert bracelets and canes, and I smiled at old people who shuffled along table to table, eating the free candy with abandon. There were several tables where they screened for health issues common to seniors, including one for bone density, which I decided to visit.
See….I’ve had some broken bones in the last couple of years. Plus–I fit the profile for someone at risk for Osteoporosis. So I happily plopped myself down and held out my arm. A young physician measured my forearm, and found its midway point. Then she sketched a chalk line, and added some gel. Next came an ultrasound wand, which scanned back and forth over my distal radius.
My results surprised everyone.
I didn’t register for Osteoporosis. But I did register for Osteopenia, which is often seen as a precursor to Osteoporosis. The fact that I’m over 50 years old and have already had some recent bone fractures increases my risk for things like a broken hip, or other serious events. The official recommendation was to take these quick screening results to my physician, so we can decide where to go from here.
Osteopenia treatment frequently involves changes in lifestyle and diet, rather than adding in some kind of medicine. In contrast, Osteoporosis treatment frequently involves adding some kind of prescription medicine to your routine, along with other lifestyle changes that may be necessary to your diet or exercise.
For now, I anticipate getting my bone strength checked out in the next couple of weeks, and seeing if I need to add any supplements to increase my bone health. I’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
Bone Health is something we need to keep in mind as we age.
Here’s a quick list of risk factors for developing Osteoporosis. If any of these align with you, please mention your concerns to your healthcare provider the next time you visit. (I got this list, along with all sorts of other great information, from this article by the National Institues of Health)
- Being female (although men can also have this problem)
- Increased age, especially if you are post-menopausal
- A current eating disorder, or any history of one
- Having a petite frame or low body weight
- Being Asian or Caucasian
- Having a family history
- Low calcium and/or Vitamin D levels
- A history of taking certain medications
- Cigarette smoking
- Alcohol use
Obviously, this is just a starting point.
I’m not a doctor, and we all age differently.
But bone health is something that people kind of ignore, because they think it only matters when you’re ancient.
Not true, folks. It starts in your youth, and only starts to reveal itself once you put on a few years.
So don’t forget how important it is, and go get yourself checked out if you have any concerns.
(Pssst–want to read more articles about your health? Take a look at these!)
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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.
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