Sunday, April 24, 2011

Calcium & Osteoporosis

I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis several years ago when I was only in my mid 40's.  I got a hairline fracture in my foot (just behind my toes around the ball of my foot) from walking.  I delivered the early morning paper here in Columbus and walked approximately 4-5 miles every morning - loaded down with newspapers. 

The hairline fracture didn't show up in a normal x-ray.  They had to do a bone scan to find it.  It was during that bone scan that they also noticed other places in my body (bones/joints) where I was also calcium deficient.  That's when I was told that I had Osteoporosis.  Since then, I have been taking calcium supplements and trying to make sure that I drink more milk. 

Back in 2002 I was in a car accident where my knees hit the steering column (I rear-ended someone and didn't have my seat belt on).  Ever since then, I have had pain in both of my knees - which seems to get worse as I get older (go figure!)   A couple of years ago it had gotten to the point where it was very painful to get up out of a chair (pushing up with just my legs and my knees) so in an effort to "baby" my knees (in the hopes that they would get better if I babied them for awhile) I began to help to "push" myself up by using my hands - in other words, most of the weight of my body would be on my hands, not on my knees as I pushed myself up into a standing position.  (I'm sure that it doesn't help that I'm about 50 pounds overweight too.)

Anyways, after "babying" my knees this way for several months, they seemed to me to be getting worse - not better.  So I went in to my doctor to see if I might be a candidate for that knee replacement surgery.  He took x-rays of both of my knees while I was standing on them.  He told me that there was nothing physically wrong with my knees - that I had arthritis and was developing osteoporosis in both of them!  He said that "babying" them like I was was actually making the situation worse.  You see, if you have osteoporosis, and you don't have enough calcium in your blood, then your body takes the calcium out of bones and/or joints that are not very active.  My doctor said that he didn't want me to "baby" them any more, in fact, the best thing for me might be to try to jog a little every morning.  The bone-on-bone impact in my knees while jogging (even just for a few miinutes) would be enough to begin to stimulate new bone growth in my knee joints.  

I must admit that I still do not jog (unless I'm out walking in the wee hours of the morning when it is dark and no one can see me jogging).  But I have stopped babying my knees.  I also take an incredible product put out by Usana called Procosa which has helped my knee joints tremendously.   

Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones as well as for muscle and nerve functioning. Calcium is stored in the bones and teeth; when calcium levels in the blood fall, more calcium is removed from the bones.

Doctors say that women begin losing calcium from their bones around the age of 30.  It accelerates after the age of 50.  Obviously, my story shows that these numbers aren't set in stone.  Women's calcium requirements increase from 1,000 milligrams (mg) from ages 19 through 50 to 1,200 mg after 50.  Teen girls need to be getting 1,300 mg per day.  In my opinion, even though it might not be noticed for many years - the problem starts way back here in the teen years if girls are not getting the calcium that they need. 

All women over 50 years of age need 1,200 mg of calcium and 700 IU (international units) of Vitamin D per day.  Women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis need 800 to 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D each day. 

Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption. It is also important that you get enough magnesium. This is needed to balance your calcium intake.  Vitamin D assists calcium to enter your blood stream and fuse to your bones.  Your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time, so if you supplement with calcium, take no more than 500 mg doses at any one time. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, caffeine will cause your bones to excrete calcium (about 2 mg per cup of coffee).  Wow, I can't help but think about the millions of young girls that are drinking Mt. Dew on a daily basis....   

Alcohol makes it difficult for calcium to be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.  Even one night of drinking causes temporary PTH deficiency and increased urinary calcium excretion.  That means you are losing calcium from your body. 

Furthermore, if you choose to drink chronically, Vitamin D metabolism will be obstructed, and you will not be able to absorb the calcium that you get from your diet.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, postmenopausal women who get most of their calcium from foods have a greater bone density than those who simply rely on calcium pills.

A recent university study found that women who increased their calcium intake by as little as 130 mg a day lost more weight tan those who didn't.  In a mouse study, those who were placed on a diet with a lot of calcium lost 42% of their body fat.  The mice who didn't get the extra calcium lost only 8%! 

The best source of calcium known is raw milk.  However, since a lot of people are lactose intolerant, the next best source is dark, green leafy vegetables including spinach and turnip, collard, and mustard greens.  Sesame seeds are another great source, as well as salmon, sardines, marckerel, oats, and almonds.  Calcium from dietary sources are usually better absorbed than from supplements.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My new "salon" is open for business!

I'm so excited.... this week I have given my first few massages to people at my new location in Gahanna. Unfortunately, I was sick last week and even though I am better this week - I still don't feel like I am back to 100%.  I've just been "dragging" a little bit and can't seem to get back to a full 100%. 

But I have been decorating my room at the Herb Center - I made black curtains to keep out the afternoon sun (my bay window faces west) and brought several plants, a small stereo for music, and a small lamp (for low lighting) down there too.  The walls are plaster, so I'm having a little trouble getting the curtain rods in the walls.  I need a recliner to do pedicures, but don't think that I can get one up the narrow stairs (I'm on the 2nd floor).... not sure what I'm going to do about that.  I also need a small cart on wheels that I can pull over next to the massage table as I want to give complimentary paraffin wax treatments (hands) during the massage. 

Anyway, other than that, it's coming along nicely, and I promise I'll post pictures soon!   In the meantime, be sure to schedule your appointment for your $35 Swedish Massage on my website at .  Also, be sure to "LIKE" my Teresa Grace Massage facebook page to have your name entered into a drawing for a FREE 60-minute Swedish Massage (drawing will be April 30, 2011 at noon!)