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Having osteoporosis. Can I participate in marathon if I keep training and increase calcium intake?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1980
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Am a 53 yr old female. Was dx with osteoporosis mild 2 yrs ago , just had repeat bone scan, results came back T scores range from -2.40 to -3.70 in left femur neck. Impression said" severe osteoporosis and very high risk for fxs" My Dr. wants me to start on fosamax, don't like all the side effects I read about that drug, spontanous hip fx, jaw necrosis, etc. currently I am taking OTC calcium only. My question is I am registered for half marathon in Jan 2014 and have been running 4-5 miles, half marathon is 13.2 miles. I do have alot of knee pain when I run but I bought a knee brace and it seems it help, I "push thru the pain" Is my goal of running this marathon a possibility if I keep training and increase my calcium intake, do not think I want to go on fosamax.
Posted Thu, 24 Oct 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
 
 
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 51 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Severe Osteoporosis

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX ,

Good morning to you.

I am Dr.(Col) R Karanwal, M.D. (Internal Medicine) for your assistance.

I can fully appreciate your concerns and thereby, take this opportunity to fully address to your query.

Firstly, there seems to be some misunderstanding regarding the side effects of Fosamax : you, in all probability, mistook the indications of the drug for side effects. It is a very effective drug in severe osteoporosis, particularly in post-menopausal females. I THEREFORE RECOMMEND THAT YOU START WITH THE DRUG FORTHWITH, OBSERVING ALL PRECAUTIONS AS ADVISED IN THE ENCLOSED BROCHURE.

Further, people suffering from severe osteoporosis are very susceptible to suffer bony fractures-some of which can be crippling- even due to minor injuries/falls. Also, there is a significantly delayed reunion of fractured bones, or may even fail to heal completely.

In view of the above, I would strongly recommend that you withdraw from the forthcoming half-marathon event. God forbid, should you sustain fracture of hip, thighbone, feet bones or spine during marathon, life would become miserable due to reasons given above. Training alone will NOT help. It is always better to listen to your mind rather than your heart.

It is therefore suggested that you take calcium in adequate doses, with Vitamin D supplements; do regular moderate exercises.

If I had been your treating doctor, I would have advised you to get Blood Vitamin D level estimation done. If it is found to be lower than desired level, extra dose of the vitamin would be required, plus adequate calcium and foxamax regularly will restore your bone density to within desirable range within 6-12 months.

Repeat bone scan every 6 months of the daily doses.

You can then look forward to participating in half marathon next year, if all goes well and you continue taking the above-mentioned supplements/Fosamax on a regular basis. High calcium + high protein diet will add to the beneficial effects of supplements.

Hope I have addressed your query to your satisfaction. If you have any further questions, I will be more than happy to help you.

However, if you do not have any further clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer.

Wish you a good health.

Fond regards and best wishes,

Dr. (Col) R Karanwal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Having osteoporosis. Can I participate in marathon if I keep training and increase calcium intake? 4 hours later
Is a risk of fx really a risk? I am a nurse and do alot of physical lifting at work, should I be concerned? What about if I train slowly and am very careful, this would just crush me if I cannot do the half marathon!!!
 
 
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 45 minutes later
Brief Answer:
The chances of fractures are significantly high

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX

Welcome back!

1. The chances of fractures are significantly high in the presence of severe osteoporosis. I have already enumerated the adverse factors regarding healing, should you do sustain fracture.

2. Osteoporosis will continue to deteriorate if preventive supplements- as already advised- are not taken regularly.

3. In your case, physical lifting of heavy weights can lead to collapse (with or without compression of emerging nerves) of vertebrae, particularly lumbar vertebrae --> if collapse/compression occurs --> leads to weakness of lower limbs; bowel and bladder disturbances. SO, PLEASE AVOID LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS.

4. I sincerely SALUTE your indomitable SPORTSMEN'S SPIRIT!! However, the final decision HAS TO BE SOLELY YOURS...you have to set your priorities right. WEIGH THE POTENTIAL RISKS VIS-A VIS YOUR AMBITION. Be patient : you should be fit enough (without significant risk) to participate in 2015 marathon event.

5. Training has nothing to do with strengthening of bones! Only Fosamax, adequate calcium + Vitamin D3 intake, healthy diet XXXXXXX in calcium and proteins will strengthen the bones and take care of osteoporosis.

In a nutshell, THE CHOICE IS ENTIRELY YOURS : RISK VS. FULFILLMENT OF LIFE TIME AMBITION!!

Hope I have addressed your query to your satisfaction. If you have any further questions, I will be more than happy to help you.

However, if you do not have any further clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer.


Fond regards and best wishes,

Dr. (Col) R Karanwal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Having osteoporosis. Can I participate in marathon if I keep training and increase calcium intake? 28 minutes later
Thank you for the information. I will start the meds, and have decided to heed your advice and not to run marathon this year. I plan to do light exercising and start high protein, calcium diet. right now am drowning my sorrows in a big bowl of ice cream, hey its got calcium. thanks again!
 
 
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 11 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Risks of severe osteoporosis

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX

Thanks for the reply.

At the outset, let me assure you that I do let my professional advice get influenced by dispensable desires.

I feel really flattered by your wise decision. Perhaps, there is something better in store for you. Given your indefatigable spirit, I am sure that you will discover an alternative to give you extreme mental satisfaction.

I wish you pink of health...keep your spirits high!!

Warm regards,

Dr. Karanwal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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