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Osteoporosis Message Board

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Thank you so much, DesertBloom, for responding to my post! To answer some of your questions, I offer the following additional information:
-- Originally, my PCP sent me to the endocrinologist because during one of my regular blood draws it was discovered that the PTH levels were high and the serum calcium levels were borderline low. She knew that my grandmother had osteoporosis and that I was concerned about the possibility that I could have it as well. Blood work was repeated with the same results, so she referred me to the endo.
-- I've not mentioned the dowager's hump to any of my doctors here in FL (I moved here from San Diego, CA about a year ago) but it was diagnosed several years ago by a chiropractor; my long hair covers it up so it is possible that no one noticed it. Until recently, after researching it on the Internet (because it's causing me some fairly severe pain right now) I thought that a dowager's hump was just a hereditary oddity. Since my grandmother also had one and had extreme osteoporosis, I am more concerned that my high PTH levels are perhaps a precursor to the disease in me and I want to do whatever I can to limit its effects. What is a t-score? Is it connected to the bone density test? No one explained the results of the bone density test except to say that it's normal for my age (56).
-- I also have osteoarthritis, degerative disc and joint disease was diagnosed when I was 31, a recent MRI revealed that I have herniated discs (T4 and T5), about 10 years ago, x-rays revealed that I'd fractured my coccyx many years before, and, like my mother, my right hip is congenitally deformed (the ball doesn't fit completely in the socket). Clinical depression was diagnosed 20 years ago and is somewhat resistant to medication; I have a stomach ulcer and mild colitis; fibromyalgia; migraine disease; chronic sinusitis and allergies; and I'm menopausal. I can't do HRT because I had a DVT 20 years ago and tested positive for the Lieden mutation, so I take the soy and Estroven to try to help me with menopausal symptoms. MSM/Glucosamine helped tremendously with arthritis, especially in my knees and other areas affected by OA.
--The endocrinologist ordered several tests, some of which were a thyroid ultrasound (and while having the ultrasound, I asked the tech to check the parathyroid glands too), 24-hour urine collection to check for calcium loss, a bone density test, and repeat blood work. The ultrasound showed no pathology... he had thought that because my thyroid gland was enlarged on his external exam, that I could have a tumor and he was surprised that the ultrasound showed nothing out of the ordinary. My PCP thinks that perhaps he was mistaken in his extrenal exam, but if he's a specialist, it seems logical that he would be an expert in determining whether a thyroid gland is enlarged or not. The urine showed no calcium loss. The bone density test was also normal for my age, the doctor said. All the blood work came back normal except for the high PTH levels and still low-normal serum calcium. The blood work included a test for ionized calcium, I believe, and that also came back normal. My PCP had ordered this test prior to referring me to the endo and it was not normal at that time, it showed that there was, indeed, a problem with the parathyroid-calcium connection. Upon telling me that the high PTH level was "just a fluke" the endocrinologist suggested that we repeat the blood work in three months. I'm scheduled to do that in mid-November.
-- There has never been any testing on my kidneys.
-- I had tried taking Cymbalta for three weeks and the side effects were harsh... I ended up with thrush and a slew of other problems, so it was thought that perhaps the odd results of the blood work might be connected to that. Without a definitive answer, doctors grab at straws.
-- I'm not sure if my insurance will cover another opinion, but it's been a while since I saw the endocrinologist, so maybe my PCP will refer me to someone else, especially if my November blood work shows the same anomalies. My insurance is with Health First, so physicians have to be associated with this network. I have Medicare because I'm disabled.
-- Something else I should add is that my body often doesn't present syptoms like "normal" people do and tests often come out negative when they are, in fact, positive. I am really sensitive to medications, too. My PCP told me that I'm a "difficult" patient because solving my various medical issues is a challenge. The specialists I've seen have been frustrated by what has perplexed them and often, have dismissed me as a patient, saying that they can't do anything for me. I know that my frustrations are even greater.

Again, thank you so much for responding to my post. I hope this information helps.

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