Friday, January 18, 2013

Educating Myself on Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: A medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue.

It is one of the common effects of anorexia nervosa. I know that I have osteoporosis - in fact, I've known for a while; ever since I've had a BMD (Bone Mineral Density) Test completed back in the middle of October while I was still at the intensive station. Yet it is only know that I have become curious and have looked further into the matter as the doctors sent me to the orthopedic station at the hospital today, in hopes of figuring out whether my osteoporosis is improving and if my daily calcium tablets are sufficient. 

The orthopedist was very informative and gave me an entire lecture on the causes of osteoporosis and what needs to be done; it was almost like being back at school, hearing a teacher explain a certain topic - the only difference was that I actually paid attention. Before his disquisition, he quickly glanced at my medical history and the tests that I have done, only to inform me that I have the bones of an eighty year old grandma or so. Great, I thought - just one more thing that anorexia nervosa has given me. He reassured me that my osteoporosis can improve with the right treatment; thank goodness. Basically, according to this article - which sums up what the doctor informed me on nicely - 
Anorexia nervosa has significant physical consequences. Affected individuals can experience nutritional and hormonal problems that negatively impact bone density. Low body weight in females causes the body to stop producing estrogen, resulting in a condition known as amenorrhea, or absent menstrual periods. Low estrogen levels contribute to significant losses in bone density.
In addition, individuals with anorexia often produce excessive amounts of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which is known to trigger bone loss. Other problems – such as a decrease in the production of growth hormone and other growth factors, low body weight (apart from the estrogen loss it causes), calcium deficiency, and malnutrition – contribute to bone loss in girls and women with anorexia.
The outcome of the meeting with the orthopedist was basically that since I also suffer from amenorrhea, which is one of the causes of osteoporosis, that I should first see a doctor at the gynecology station and then come back with the test results from there.

Although it was a very informative day, I wasted three hours of my precious time today, running around the hospital or sitting, waiting patiently to be called up - and the end result? nothing.

Hopefully I will get some answers regarding my amenorrhea and osteoporosis next week; we'll see.

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