Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and fragile and more likely to fracture. These fractures most commonly occur in the spine, wrist and hips but can affect other bones such as the arm or pelvis.
Bone density begins to decrease after the age of about 35 and for most this is never a problem but there are some factors that contribute to a risk of developing osteoporosis such as diseases affecting hormone producing glands such as hyperthyroidism, family history of osteoporosis, problems with absorbtion, heavy drinking and smoking and long term use of certain medication…e.g. oral steroids such as prednisolone .
If you have been keeping up with me you will be aware that steroids are a mainstay drug for many lupus patients in getting the disease under control. So osteoporosis is a possible side effect of the drug therapy and particularly relevant for people (women especially) of a certain age like me! To counteract this it is advisable to take supplements of calcium and vitamin D. Oh yes, another ‘did you know?’ point, most people with lupus are deficient in Vitamin D, ironic that what is referred to as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin can be difficult for a Lupie to replace naturally since a main source of this is from sunlight….are you keeping up with me…a high percentage of people with SLE are light sensitive!
It is advisable to keep a log or diary of your symptoms with lupus; personally I try to do this when there is a change or if I note a pattern. Generally when a review with my GP comes around or I am due a consultant appointment it really helps to focus the mind and usually means that I come away having said all I need to say and not coming away kicking myself! If you are like me it adds to the general feeling of hypochondria but actually is a very useful tool for the medics and in reminding yourself that you really are ill and not imagining it. which sadly, is how some people with lupus are made to feel, especially in the time before diagnosis.
So here is another link to LUPUS UK who have a downloadable Lupus Diary for you to chart progress or you can send off for a paper copy. I tend to use A4 paper which then slots nicely into my Lupus folder where I keep all letters and appointments. I know this all sounds a little obsessional, maybe it is but I see it as a part of my learning process. I even put in the lovely mug shots when symptoms are visible. It really does help a consultant understand what is going on with you and can therefore tweek your meds accordingly.
To finish today I will leave you with the LUPUS UK campaign poster