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Are breast calcifications related to decreased bone density or skeletal integrity?

By Anonymous May 19, 2009 - 8:42pm
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Does breast calcification indicate bone-related deficiencies, such as calcium depletion, osteoporosis, etc? Are large-framed or large-boned women less prone to bone deficiency problems? Are they less likely or more likely to experience breast(or other) calcification? While we're on the subject, hee-hee: Do alcoholic women have more trouble (even after quitting)with enzyme processing than non-alcoholic (not just non-drinking)women? Does gender matter for any of this?

Well, you had no comments, so I sort of made up for it!


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Hi Anon

Thanks for your questions and welcome!

Let's take your last question first - yes, gender matters when it comes to alcohol. Men and women process alcohol differently - in fact, despite size, men can get away with drinking more than women.

I am 5'8 and weigh about 138 lbs. A man who is also 5' 8" and weighs 138 lbs will more than likely be in better shape after 5 drinks that I'll be. Even if he weighs 120lbs!


We all have the enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase that helps process alcohol in our system. And men's seems to work better than women, no matter their size. And even more confusingly - no-one is quite sure why. Studies have shown that alcohol dehydrogenase is the factor in stopping someone from getting drunk. Women's alcohol dehydrogenase is less effective, allowing 30% more alcohol into their bloodstreams that in the bloodstreams of men. Ounce for ounce of alcoholic, it looks like men can better process alcohol with this enzyme at a rate of 2:1. So a man would have to drink twice what a woman drinks to get the same effect.

Alcoholic women do have a problem with this enzyme - studies have shown that in some alcoholic women, the enzyme doesn't work at all.

With regard to your first question, I have to say that I am not a huge believe in people being "big boned" to the degree that is causes them to be bigger overall than other, "smaller boned" people. Most people are large based on the amount of body fat and muscle they carry, as well as their height.

We also need to take into account race, society, culture, family habits/environment, gender, health, wellness and several other factors.

A lot of people use wrist, ankle and hip size to decide if they are big boned or not, but (at least if you believe a lot of diet and exercise professionals) once a "big boned" over-weight person loses the fat, they are no longer big boned! In other words, it's not the bone that makes a person big, it's the fat that surrounds the bones! There are many tall and skinny folks and many short and fat ones. Then there are large heavy people and tiny, petite ones.

We all have different bone sizes and while some people tend to have bigger hips that someone else, the idea of being big-boned doesn't hold a lot of water.

However - others disagree and believe that we all fall into a small, medium or large boned category. Even the experts disagree on this so perhaps the jury is still out!

Very thin women are more prone to osteoporosis - whether this is due to being "small boned" is anyone's guess because if they gained some weight, they may no longer be considered small boned. And very thin women may get osteoporosis because their diet may not have enough calcium and Vitamin D. For others, it could be a genetic propensity, low estrogen levels, not exercising/lifting weights or smoking.

I really like your questions, they are quite thoughtful and thought provoking. Bear in mind that particularly with the "big boned" question, there are two camps who believe two very different things so nothing is set in stone.

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May 20, 2009 - 1:07pm
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