Sunday, January 26, 2014

Osteopenia: Do I have it or not?

I got all my yearly labs done and pretty much everything ranged from okay to awesome except for protein, which was the lowest it's ever been, and my DEXA scan.

On the DEXA scan, the radiology doc put "Osteopenia" and I freaked out. I did have one measure that was -1.1 and technically they call osteopenia if you are under -1.0 on a t-score. I waited for my PCP to contact me about it and she never did. I went back to read my results and I noticed she has put "your bone density is normal" on my results!

I asked about it and she said it's complicated and I can make an appointment and she'll explain it to me. I don't really want to waste the time with that though. I need to start strength training again any way and I'm pretty close to starting to run again. I suspect that will nip this trend in the bud.

Also, it turns out Topamax can sometimes cause osteoporosis and I'll be off that at some point. Hopefully later this year.

Topamax also can cause hair loss. My hair has been falling out again. I had thought the hair loss was related to my protein levels but they didn't really improve and at some point my hair loss stopped anyway. However, my ferritin had gotten up over 40-ish. So I thought maybe that was it. But now my ferritin is at 49, the highest it's been since I started measuring it.

So my hair could be falling out because of the really low protein level. Or the Topamax. Or maybe I'm finally going through menopause. All of those are associated with hair loss. It's a pretty low level though and it's already leveling off.

I've decided I want to get my ferritin over 100 because the ranges goes to 300 and endurance athletes should really have good iron stores (endurance work can cause anemia). So  I'm doubling up on my iron supplementation. Maybe that will also help with the hair. And I'm cutting out a lot of junk out of my diet so I can get my protein intake back up where it was when I was in weight loss mode and then training for Ironmans.

I'm also looking into ways I can increase the absorption of what protein I do consume. I know I can consume more because I had gotten really lazy about it but even when I was consuming 125-137g a day on average, I still had protein levels in the 6.1 to 6.3. range and 6.4 is where normal starts.

So I think I need more oomph than just eating more eggs and less beans.

I'll do these things for a while and get retested and then we'll see.
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