Lonnie Studt only took a bone mineral density (BMD) test because it was on her checklist; one of the things her doctor recommended she do when she turned 50.
“Kind of like a 100,000 mile tune up,” she says with a smile. She never considered that the results would be anything but normal. That’s why her first thought was that someone had made a mistake.
“No symptoms. No warnings. No family history. I was just sure I had gotten somebody else’s scores.”
The results Dr. Russell Ebke showed her in 2004 were no mistake and not to be taken lightly. Lonnie had osteoporosis in her hip and osteopenia – a lower than normal BMD that can become osteoporosis given time – in her spine. The condition can lead to fractures, loss of height, stooped posture, low back pain and other conditions. They had to be proactive and move fast, Dr. Ebke explained.
It took more than Ebke’s patient encouragement for the diagnosis to sink in. The seriousness of it hit her as she roller skated with her four-year-old grandson soon after the diagnosis. He was hanging onto her hand as they slipped around the edges of the rink.
“The thought just hit me that if I fell, I would probably break a hip. I want to enjoy life with my grandkids, not worry about a pin in my hip.”
She committed to the work it would take to push her bone density readings back into the normal range.
She would need that willpower and commitment to see it through, especially one year later, when eating more calcium, moderate exercise and Fosamax medication hadn’t budged her readings. In fact, they were worse.
Her doctor began talking about an injection she would have to give herself in the stomach and side effects she did not want. Instead, they decided she would try a higher dose of the Fosamax and add weight-bearing exercise to her routine.
“I still wanted to turn this around on my own,” she says, sitting in the BodyPump workout room in Crete. “I wanted to stick with it no matter what. No excuses.”
When she says no excuses, she means it.
Excuses did not form her chiseled biceps and lean, muscular frame. And excuses did not turn her bone density readings around.
“A lot of it was this,” she says, gesturing around the BodyPump studio.
Each weekday morning, Lonnie’s alarm clock goes off at 4:50 a.m. She grabs the bag of exercise clothes packed the night before and drives from her home in Wilber to Crete for 5:45 a.m. spinning and circuit weight-training classes.
Ninety minutes later, she is changed and at her desk as a transcriptionist at the Crete Area Medical Center.
“The trick is to not even think about it. When the alarm goes off, don’t think ‘Maybe I won’t go today.’ Don’t even think of it as an option.”
She found out she loved working out in the morning. The mother of three and grandmother of two realized it was the time of day that no one needed anything from her.
Her favorite class sets weight lifting to music. She now lifts up to 40 pounds on her shoulders during squatting and lunging exercises.
“That really helps my spine and hips. Repetitions are important, but when you are working on bone density you do need to increase weight.”
She combined the exercise with a better diet. She started to include a lot of dairy, which is not her favorite food group. She eats two yogurts a day, sneaks in yummy milk products like ice cream and takes calcium supplements. She also cut back on consumption of cola products, which some research has linked as a contributing factor in osteopenia and osteoporosis.
After one year of the new diet, weight-bearing exercise and the increased Fosamax, her BMD readings had turned around. Her spine was in the normal range and her hip was much better.
“No more osteoporosis.”
Today, her readings are good enough that she can go two years in between screenings. She has even talked with her doctor about lowering her medicine.
“When I saw that my readings had improved so much, it was like a light bulb came on. I thought ‘I can control this and rebuild myself, and I’ve found such a fun and easy way to do it.'”
She is grateful both for the BMD screening and the fact that she took it at Crete Area Medical Center.
“Everything turned around because of the guidance of the Crete Area Medical Center medical staff. Without them, I wouldn’t have known what to do.” She shares her success story as a reminder to others about the importance of the simple little test she never expected would mean anything to her.
Lonnie and her commitment to managing her health is the spirit behind Crete Area Medical Center and LifePointe’s most recent outreach program – STEP UP.
STEP UP is a worksite wellness program designed to help employees achieve optimal health and reduce employer’s health care costs. It focuses on empowering employees through prevention, early detection of disease, assessment of risk factors and active management of chronic disease. It provides employers actionable information to affect the health of employees and in effect lower direct and indirect health care costs.
The program includes four key components – Health Risk Appraisals, Biometric Screenings, Health Coaching and Incentives. All phases are currently being implemented at Crete Area Medical Center and several other industry partners.
Whether it’s bone density, diabetes management or weight loss – we want to help you STEP UP to a healthier way of life.
For more information about the STEP UP worksite wellness program, please contact Drew Erks, ATC at (402) 826-6595.
To begin your own personal wellness program, BryanLGH health experts are here to help:
In Crete, learn more about our Active Lifestyles fitness and prevention program
In Lincoln, BryanLGH LifePointe is our medically based health, fitness and wellness center