She’s Got Good Bones… or Does She?

Thanksgiving was wonderful, just plain wonderful.  All but our East Coast daughter contributed to and attended the dinner hosted by another daughter and her fiancé here in Arizona.  The food was not renal friendly for the most part which really helped me not overeat.  I was careful to taste everything each of the daughters and almost sons-in-law cooked, but that’s it.sweet potato casserole

I’m lucky.  All the kids know about my Chronic Kidney Disease and accept my limitations.  There’s no exclaiming that I must have a glass of the family’s favorite Moscato or eat some of the Hungarian Strudel our host baked. I didn’t even mind cooking the sweet potato-pineapple-marshmallow dish I wasn’t going to eat or smelling the delicious aroma of the string bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions atop it Bear prepared that I knew I also wasn’t going to eat.

I had what I wanted: almost all the kids together under one roof with Bear and me.  Food was secondary.

How do I go from Thanksgiving dinner to the osteoporosis a reader asked me to write about? Ah, I know.  Food contains vitamins, right? One of the causes of this bone disease is a vitamin D deficiency.  How many of you are taking vitamin D supplements?  Raise your hands.

Wow, that’s everyone in the room {I am raising my hand as I still alone in my office writing this blog}. And what does this vitamin D insufficiency have to do with your Chronic Kidney Disease?  Does anyone remember?

Ah, great idea!  Let’s go back to What Is It and How Did I Get it? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease for the answer. That is on page 48 or you can use a phrase search for the digital version.

  • The kidneys produce calcitrol which is the active form of vitamin D. The kidneys are the organs that transfer this vitamin from your food and skin [sunshine provides it to your skin] into something your body can use.
  • Both vitamin D and calcium are needed for strong bones. It is yet another job of your kidneys to keep your bones strong and healthy.
  • Should you have a deficit of Vitamin D, you’ll need to be treated for this, in addition for any abnormal level of calcium or phosphates. The three work together.
  • Vitamin D enables the calcium from the food you eat to be absorbed in the body. CKD may leech the calcium from your bones and body.
  • Phosphate levels can rise since this is stored in the blood and the bones as is calcium. With CKD, it’s hard to keep the phosphate levels normal, so you may develop itchiness since the concentration of urea builds up and begins to crystallize through the skin. This is called pruritus.Book signing

Did you catch that fourth point – leeching? So now we know how the lack of vitamin D, common in Chronic Kidney Disease patients, can be a factor in having osteoporosis, but what is osteoporosis?  According to The National Osteoporosis Foundation at

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” If you look at healthy bone under a microscope, you will see that parts of it look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than they are in healthy bone. This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they also become weaker and more likely to break. If you’re age 50 or older and have broken a bone, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider and ask if you should have a bone density test.

Both Bear and I have had this test since we are both over 50 and have broken bones, several for each of us in fact.  I am pleased to announce that neither one of us has a bone density problem.  The test itself was simple. Here’s an explanation of what it entails from The MayoClinic at

bone densityIf you have your bone density test done at a hospital, it’ll probably be done on a central device, where you lie on a padded platform while a mechanical arm passes over your body. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to is very low, much less than the amount emitted during a chest X-ray. The test usually takes about 10 to 30 minutes.

A small, portable machine can measure bone density in the bones at the far ends of your skeleton, such as those in your finger, wrist or heel. The instruments used for these tests are called peripheral devices, and are often found in pharmacies. Tests of peripheral bone density are considerably less expensive than are tests done on central devices.

Because bone density can vary from one location in your body to another, a measurement taken at your heel usually isn’t as accurate a predictor of fracture risk as is a measurement taken at your spine or hip. That’s why, if your test on a peripheral device is positive, your doctor might recommend a follow-up scan at your spine or hip to confirm your diagnosis.

Unfortunately, osteoporosis is common with CKD.  That word is common, not universal.  While you may want to be careful about your vitamin D levels to make certain you have enough, there’s no reason to be unduly alarmed.  We have Chronic Kidney Disease.  Our systems are already compromised.  This is only one of the POSSIBLE risks of our disease.

I am adamant that The Book of Blogs: Moderate Stage Chronic Kidney Disease be ready for e-publishing by the end of the year. I am having a blast editing the blogs for the book.  I am also astounded at how much information I’ve uncovered by researching and at how much personal ‘stuff’ needs to be cut so this book isn’t the size of War and Peace.

Many thanks for your blog topic suggestions.  Keep them coming!

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Published in: on December 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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