I can’t help but draw attention to the fact that generally when a man is shown to have osteoporosis by bone mineral density testing or because of a needless fracture, he is immediately given a series of tests looking for the causes of his bone weakening.
Women with osteoporosis, on the other hand, are immediately told to take bone drugs. Most often no tests are done and no attempt made to uncover the causes of osteoporosis.
As a result, many women take bone drugs to cover up the real problem. It’s never discovered that they might be suffering from hyperparathyroidism, excessive loss of calcium in the urine, Celiac Disease, hypercortisolemia or any other of the hidden causes of osteoporosis.
Get thoroughly tested for hidden causes
I believe that any woman experiencing excessive bone weakening should be thoroughly tested for hidden causes. After all, if a doctor thinks the problem is serious enough to tell a woman to take bone drugs, then it is serious enough to warrant a full diagnostic workup looking for hidden causes of bone weakening.
Just today I saw yet another woman who was told to take bone drugs because of excessive bone loss without any testing looking for the causes. After working with me she discovered she was losing bone due to an overactive parathyroid gland, which I’ll write about more in an upcoming blog.
What are common diagnostic tests?
Here are some common diagnostic tests that can be used to uncover the underlying causes of osteoporosis:
- Vitamin D 25(OH)D blood test
- Ionized calcium test
- Intact parathyroid hormone blood test (iPTH)
- 24-hour urine calcium excretion test
- Thyroid hormone function test (TSH)
- N-telopeptides crosslinks (NTx) urine marker of bone resorption test
- N-telopeptides crosslinks (NTx) serum marker of bone resorption test
- Dpd urine marker of bone resorption test (deoxypyridinium crosslinks test)
- Vertebral deformity assessment
- Free cortisol test (blood or saliva)
- DHEA test (blood or saliva)
- C-reactive protein test (high sensitivity if possible)
- Homocysteine test (plasma or serum)
- Celiac disease
- Gluten sensitivity test
- Sex hormone test
You can read more about each diagnostic test in my article What’s the cause of your osteoporosis? Diagnostic tests and what they mean. If you suspect excessive bone weakening I suggest you read, print out and discuss this article with your medical practitioner.
You can also learn more with my video Uncovering the hidden causes of bone loss —medical tests you should know about.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.