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Treating Bone Loss Due to Anorexia

Treating Anorexia-Related Bone Loss

The aim of medical therapy for females with anorexia is weight gain and the return of regular menstrual periods. Research from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. suggests that menses usually resume when girls have achieved 90 percent of the standard body weight for their age and height. While calcium intake has not necessarily demonstrated a therapeutic value, a nutritionally sound diet, including adequate calcium and vitamin D, is recommended.
The effect of exercise on bone recovery is not clear. Some studies have identified a skeletal benefit from weight-bearing activity in people with anorexia. However, the potential benefits of exercise need to be weighed against the risk of fracture, delayed weight gain, and exercise-induced amenorrhea. The impact of estrogen preparations on bone density in affected girls and young women is also unclear. Estrogen may offer a limited benefit in some patients, but it should not be a substitute for nutritional support.
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