The “osteoporosis scare” is no longer just for women. Here at the Center for Better Bones, we are seeing an increasing number of men who are being directed to take osteoporosis drugs without any investigation to see if the person is actually at risk for fracture. Take the case of Frank, with whom I spoke today.
Frank describes himself as a man “going on 88″ who is very physically active. He is 5’6” tall and now weighs 140 pounds, having lost 20 pounds since his wife died eight months ago. A month ago, Frank’s doctor asked him to have a bone density test, even though he had no obvious fracture risk factors, aside from his age. He had never fractured anything, had no history of fracture in his family, is not particularly thin, and was not using medications that might damage bone. All in all, Frank was at low risk for fracture. In fact, he had excellent bones despite being well beyond the average age for a hip fracture (80 years of age).
Frank agreed to the bone density test and was told that his spine was at T -1.30 (barely in the osteopenia range), his wrist was T 0.57 (above the average for a young person), but his hip was osteoporotic at T -3.4. Immediately, he was instructed to take Fosamax, without any attempt to look for the causes of Frank’s low hip bone density.
Although his doctor did not order any additional tests, Frank took it upon himself to test his vitamin D levels independently. As for the Fosamax, Frank — who already suffers from acid reflux, and who uses no drugs at all — simply refused to use the drug. Although he was thrown into the “osteoporosis scare,” he was sure enough of himself to know that he did not want bone medication. Instead, he called The Center for Better Bones to ask for our input.
The Better Bones, Better Body Solution
Here are the action items I suggested for Frank:
1. Frank should get a copy of his bone density test to see exactly what the result of this single BMD test was.
2. Frank should ask the doctor for an opinion on why the hip bone density is osteoporotic, when Frank’s other bones are much denser.
3. It would be wise for Frank to remind the doctor of his acid reflux condition, and also to re-state his desire to follow natural treatment path rather than moving into pharmaceutical therapy.
4. Finally, Frank should ask his doctor to conduct a complete medical workup for osteoporosis. Such medical testing would uncover (a) if there is any hidden medical cause for Frank’s low hip bone density, and (b) whether the bone loss is ongoing or something that occurred many years ago that has now stabilized.
In the past, it seemed the push toward bone drugs was primarily focused on women. Because osteoporosis was rare in men, the cause of bone loss was investigated before drugs were prescribed. But now both women and men would do well to become informed and pro-active about their bones and seek out the cause of bone loss before filling a prescription. There are often more natural steps you can take to stop bone loss and even build bone. Follow Frank’s path and become your own best advocate!