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Old 09-12-2011, 08:34 AM   #1
HereticFA
 
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Default Will RNY post-ops ever stop losing height?

With numerous friends and acquaintances who have had the RNY WLS procedure, I've noticed most of them are still shrinking - vertically. I just wonder if anyone knows when they might stop losing height.

Unfortunately the shrinkage seems to be accelerating, not decreasing. All are about ten to twelve years post-op with BMIs from about 28 to 60. The effect is most noticeable with the ones that were taller to begin with. Most have lost at least two inches in height so far, with one women formerly 6'1" who is now at least four inches shorter. All say their doctor assures them their blood calcium levels are normal. I suspect the loss in height is a significant indicator of at least osteopenia if not full blown osteoporosis caused by their body leeching calcium from their bones to regulate the calcium level in the bloodstream that can't be obtained by oral nutrition methods.

Unfortunately the studies I've seen so far acknowledge the significant loss of bone density in RNY post ops, just not the loss of height.

Last edited by HereticFA; 09-12-2011 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Omitted info by mistake.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:43 PM   #2
Miss Vickie
 
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Originally Posted by HereticFA View Post
With numerous friends and acquaintances who have had the RNY WLS procedure, I've noticed most of them are still shrinking - vertically. I just wonder if anyone knows when they might stop losing height.

Unfortunately the shrinkage seems to be accelerating, not decreasing. All are about ten to twelve years post-op with BMIs from about 28 to 60. The effect is most noticeable with the ones that were taller to begin with. Most have lost at least two inches in height so far, with one women formerly 6'1" who is now at least four inches shorter. All say their doctor assures them their blood calcium levels are normal. I suspect the loss in height is a significant indicator of at least osteopenia if not full blown osteoporosis caused by their body leeching calcium from their bones to regulate the calcium level in the bloodstream that can't be obtained by oral nutrition methods.

Unfortunately the studies I've seen so far acknowledge the significant loss of bone density in RNY post ops, just not the loss of height.
I'm six years out this April and have actually gained half an inch in height, I think due to lack of disc compression in my back. Depending on the age of the people involved, particularly women, a loss in height is normal after menopause. I can't remember the average amount, but it's very common for women to lose some height each year after the age of 50.

The best way to diagnose osteopenia and osteoporosis isn't speculating about loss in height, but rather dexa scans, which should be performed regularly on women who are menopausal.

Edited to add that RNY places patients at higher risk for bone loss and we should get checked early and regularly. Interestingly, I was already osteopenic prior to my WLS, and my calcium was borderline low. However, since I take a calcium supplement and copious amounts of D, I've stayed stable since. You would think a fat girl who drinks tons of calcium, never smokes, father was a milkman, born of European descent and who was relatively active would have bones of steel but unfortunately I don't. Most likely it was the years and years of diet soft drinks and the phosphorus which literally leaches calcium from the bones that contributed to my osteopenia.

Last edited by Miss Vickie; 09-12-2011 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Miss Vickie View Post
I'm six years out this April and have actually gained half an inch in height, I think due to lack of disc compression in my back.
That is what I would expect with someone who had lost a considerable amount of weight. It's also why their shrinkage is so surprising, and worries me. (Actually, gaining height after losing weight could also be due to being able to place your legs closer together. More of an issue with pear body styles vs. apple.)

Their doctor's answer was that the fat they lost was holding them up and they should expect to get shorter. I just stared at them when I heard this. It goes against the laws of physics. It's like removing a weight from a tree branch and expecting the branch to drop lower. It just doesn't work that way. Even if their doctor was implying visceral fat and a full GI tract was keeping them "inflated" pre-WLS, that doesn't explain their loss of height starting two to five years post-op and post-weight loss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Vickie View Post
Depending on the age of the people involved, particularly women, a loss in height is normal after menopause. I can't remember the average amount, but it's very common for women to lose some height each year after the age of 50.
And I took that into account. All of these individuals are under age 60, many are under age 50. I'm also using my wife as a relative control as she lost about 110 lbs without surgery. All of these people were noticeably taller than my 5'8" wife and are now her height or slightly shorter. Her height didn't change even a quarter of an inch from 430 lbs to 310 lbs.

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Originally Posted by Miss Vickie View Post
The best way to diagnose osteopenia and osteoporosis isn't speculating about loss in height, but rather dexa scans, which should be performed regularly on women who are menopausal.
However, loss of height should be justification for a dexa scan. For some reason their bariatric doctor didn't see it as necessary to request a dexa scan since their blood Ca levels were OK. Common sense would tell you a two to four inch loss of height in someone under the age of 50 is a strong hint something is seriously wrong in the bones (assuming no signs of scoliosis), regardless of the Ca levels.

All this still begs the fundamental question, is the loss of height due to the bones shortening or loss of cartilage? If it's the bones, and the bone density is within the average range (even if low), how can the body perform an organised shortening of the bones? I thought all it could do was reduce the density as calcium was leached out to substitute for dietary calcium not taken in. Thinking about it more, the "density only" model doesn't explain the geriatric phenomena where people shrink as the go into their 70's and beyond. If the skeleton is aging that fast in a 50 year old, what's happening to the organs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Vickie View Post
Edited to add that RNY places patients at higher risk for bone loss and we should get checked early and regularly. Interestingly, I was already osteopenic prior to my WLS, and my calcium was borderline low. However, since I take a calcium supplement and copious amounts of D, I've stayed stable since. You would think a fat girl who drinks tons of calcium, never smokes, father was a milkman, born of European descent and who was relatively active would have bones of steel but unfortunately I don't. Most likely it was the years and years of diet soft drinks and the phosphorus which literally leaches calcium from the bones that contributed to my osteopenia.
Maybe the vitamin D you were taking wasn't sufficiently bioavailable? With the lack of year round strong sunshine in AK (and your indoor job with long hours), you were denied the best source of vitamin D.

The phosphoric and acetic acids in sodas (including diet) are taking a heavy toll on everyone. It's just not immediately apparent until people age in to the window where dexa scans start being performed. Several papers have been written about the lower bone density of this generation of children compared to earlier generations. The leading root causes cited are beverages with acid, less exposure to sunlight and lower physical activity levels.
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