Occasionally I like to share some of the interesting bone health cases I see at the Center for Better Bones. As the one-liner goes, “We should learn from the mistakes of others because we don’t have time to make all of them ourselves.” We can also learn from the wise choices of others. In this case, Marie made wise choices worth emulating.
Many people come to me because they appear to have a high risk of fracture, and others see me because they have “established” osteoporosis (the term for those who have already experienced a low-trauma fracture). A significant number of the cases I see, however, are individuals who have fallen prey to what I call “the great osteoporosis scare.” These individuals have been told they have excess bone loss, that they are at great risk of fracture, and that they must begin taking osteoporosis drugs immediately. If they do not, it is implied — or even directly stated! — that they will suffer painful, debilitating bone fractures.
Marie came into my office recently with an obvious case of “osteoporosis scare.” In her 50s, Marie was a health-conscious, health-savvy individual who tended to seek and repair the cause of any health issue rather than turn to symptom-suppressing medications. A few weeks earlier, Marie was totally thrown off when her doctor emphatically insisted she begin osteoporosis medications — even though she only had osteopenia, had never fractured, and at age 54 had a higher bone density than she’d had at age 49. Stunned, she came to me for a second opinion. After reviewing her case, I saw that she was at very low risk of fracture and that she, like the vast majority of middle-aged women with osteopenia, did not need and would not benefit from osteoporosis medications.
After our consultation, Marie came out of my office amazed that she had fallen for the “osteoporosis scare,” yet pleased that she had had the wisdom to seek a second opinion. Also, she was appreciative that she now knew how to better nourish and monitor her bone health, beginning with the correction of her vitamin D inadequacy right on up to supplementation with all 20 key bone nutrients and the development of an Alkaline for Life® eating program.
So what is the take home message? For me, Marie’s case serves as a reminder that we should all follow our own instincts and become our own health advocates. As well-intended as your health professional may be, he or she generally does not have time to either fully assess your individual case or to critically “rethink” osteoporosis and your real fracture risk. Should your inner wisdom speak up, it’s up to you to become informed, seek that “second opinion,” and become an advocate for yourself.
Take heart and take action — that’s the take home message as I see it!