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Recovery may save your bones from staying brittle

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:55am

A recent study is saying that recovered anoretics who had the disease for more than five years have an incredibly good chance of achieving a normal bone density. How incredible? “[Of those who] recovered after being ill for 5 years, only 20% had low bone density.” Of patients in the study who had anorexia for less than five years, 8.8% had low bone density.

This is good news for those of us who have osteoperosis / osteopenia as a result of our eating disorders. According to one of the researchers of this study, Esther Waugh, BScPT, “[Patients] need at least 3 years of recovery before bone levels out.” This gives me relief because when I got my bone scan in March, I wasn’t anywhere close to that three-year benchmark and my results were indicative of osteopenia. Of course I don’t expect my bones to return to normal right at my three-year anniversary of a more recovered state, but this news is promising because I felt doomed to either osteopenia or osteoporosis at a young age for the rest of my life. If this study is any indication, I at least have a chance of having a more normal bone density in the future, especially since I’m already in the habit of taking calcium citrate, exercising and have never smoked in my life.

What I wish this article would have revealed is what these patients have done, if anything, to increase their bone density. Have they been taking medications that reverse bone loss like Sally Field, or do they take over-the-counter supplements? Have they taken no special measures whatsoever? I’d find that information just as valuable as the conclusion of the study. If I find any details, I’ll post an update.

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