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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WARNING! And Please Share With Your Amputee Friends

When I came home from Missouri, I immediately phoned my primary care physician to schedule an appointment. The statistics that were discussed at the seminar concerning osteoporosis scared me. Knowing that avoiding the issue would not make my situation better in the future, I resolved to become proactive.

Armed with the staggering statistics concerning bone density in lower extremity amputees, I prepared myself for my appointment. For this visit, on this issue, I wanted to be able to provide him with all of the necessary documentation to justify a bone density scan (Dexa scan). Yesterday morning I grabbed a cup of coffee, kissed Robby and Scott goodbye and headed to my appointment.

My doctor listened attentively as I presented my case for a scan. He recently read an article addressing osteoporosis in amputees so it didn't take a lot of convincing. He ordered a bone density screening which, to my surprise, was conducted in his office.

The bone density in my heel was measured, and the results shocked both my doctor and me. He immediately scheduled a Dexa scan. Apparently my T score (the result of the screening which indicates osteoporosis) was "off the charts." The screening, in addition with the blood work which was conducted, indicates that I do, indeed, have osteoporosis.

I was devastated when I heard this news from my doctor. Thankfully I learned that this diagnosis is actually a blessing. No, I am not happy that I have now developed osteoporosis, but I am grateful that it is being detected and treated early. My doctor suggested that I "find and hug whoever recommended that I talk to him about bone density. Coming into the office and getting started on treatment probably saved me from a hip replacement in the future."

Wow, I my head is spinning from the events that transpired. I remain upset and saddened about my bone density issues. However, I am so incredibly grateful to Bob Gailey, the physical therapist who first educated me about the connection between lower extremity amputations and osteoporosis. Because I became informed, I was able to become proactive and possibly thwart some debilitating issues.

I was dependent on crutches for several years before my amputation. During those years I was relying heavily upon my right (sound) side. Although I am becoming more cognizant about putting weight through my socket, especially when I am standing, I know that I am not bearing weight equally at all times. Not equally sharing the weight load between both legs puts undo strain on the bones and muscles on the sound side, resulting in arthritis and decreased bone density.

True to the statistics which indicate that 100% of all lower extremity amputees experience loss of bone density, I find myself facing issues of osteoporosis at 36. It turns out that I may not have inherited my mother's bad back. We now suspect that the pain I occasionally feel may be resonating from my hip.

There are medications which can prevent further loss and I have been told that, since I am still in my child bearing years, it is possible to rebuild the density which has been lost. Dietary changes, along with medication, will be utilized to treat the condition. We are optimistic and remain grateful that I learned about the risk and acted.

It was a fluke that I was at the seminar where the risk of osteoporosis was discussed. The possibility of losing bone density was never discussed by my surgeon, prosthetist or family doctor until I brought up the issue. I am glad that I stumbled upon the information, but this type of knowledge should not be left to chance!

This is another example of why it is important to remain educated. Prosthetic changes and medical implications are often overlooked by medical providers. Ultimately it is up to us to become and to remain informed.

Please learn from my experience and talk with your doctor about bone density. The screening and the Dexa scan are painless and quick. If you have a lower extremity amputation, the studies indicate that you have some degree of bone density loss. It can be treated and the progression can be halted before osteoporosis develops.

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