Maidstone Support Group

Contact: Margaret

Tel: 0300 999 5090

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Maidstone Support Group meetings are normally on the fourth Monday of each month at The Early Bird pub.  When the Monday is a bank holiday, the meetings will be held on the fourth Tuesday.  See below for upcoming meetings in Maidstone and surrounding area.

The Early Bird, Minor Centre, ME14 5TQ

11am - 1pm

RSVP: It helps us to prepare if we know you are coming - please email:

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Fri 4 Sep 2020

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Maidstone Support Group

KENT: Maidstone Meeting Report - December 2019

Maidstone Support Group welcomed a new lady this month. She has GCA and has been suffering from it for seven years.

One of our first questions was "Have you had a DEXA scan?" The answer was in the affirmative but it led to a discussion on the subject of Osteoporosis.
We only get one chance to build strong bones i.e. when we are children and teens.  Children who get enough calcium start their adult lives with the strongest bones possible which protects them against bone loss later in life. Young children and babies need calcium and Vitamin D (about which I'm always banging on!) to prevent rickets which softens  the bones and causes bow legs, stunted growth and sometimes sore or weak muscles.
Where do we obtain calcium?  The short answer is from FOOD.
Some foods such as milk, yogurt and hard cheeses like cheddar are very high in calcium but there are other things which are also good providers of  this vital dietary requirement. Soy beans, broccoli, collard greens, kale, Chinese cabbage and other leafy greens, almonds, sesame seeds, white beans, red beans, chickpeas, oranges, figs and prunes (which I have mentioned in the past) are all good sources of calcium.
Food companies often add it to cereal, bread and juice, to mention but a few.
Vitamin D: good sources are oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver and egg yolks. Sunlight, of which we are lamentably short at the moment, is an excellent source of Vitamin D although it would appear that late March/April to the end of September is the best period for sunlight to trigger the production of vitamin D by the body.
See my report of JULY 2018 for further notes on the subject of osteoporosis.
Flares, and the downgrading of steroid levels afterwards was also mentioned at the meeting. When is a flare not a flare but a muscular ache from doing too much gardening or decorating? Would paracetamol help with a flare? The answer to that is NO but it might help if it is because of too much DIY. A flare can only be dealt with by an increased level of steroids.
Finally, an excellent Festive Meal was enjoyed by twelve group members and spouses. The Early Bird staff did us proud, three courses, plus hot mince pies and tea or coffee left us feeling that Christmas had come early.
For more information about Maidstone meetings contact Margaret at:
    Our next meeting is on 27 January 2020, followed by one on  24 February.
    Happy Christmas everyone, and a healthy New Year.

Maidstone - December 2019 meeting


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