Osteoporosis Prevention: Do You Really Need A Bone Scan?

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With news headlines warning women that they are facing an epidemic of brittle-bone diseases like osteoporosis and the mainstream’s recommendation that healthy post-menopausal women need bone density scans every two years, it’s no wonder more women than ever are having these scans DEXA scans.

After all, prevention is better than cure and it’s just a single scan, right?

The truth is, a simple standard bone scan is actually the first step in an on-going series of scans, which may pave the way for you to eventually end up taking a dangerous prescription drug.

Here’s how it may happen: After each bone scan, your doctor notices normal changes in density but just “to be safe” he writes you a prescription.

The scam is on

If you’re postmenopausal, then your bones will not quite be as dense at 55 as they were at 35. Your doctor might diagnose that as osteopenia – diminished bone density. Osteopenia doesn’t mean you’re facing a health emergency. In fact, just about everyone – male and female – experiences this as a normal part of ageing.

However, once your doctor has diagnosed osteopenia, he is more than likely to prescribe an osteoporosis drug. Of course, with this new “condition” that you supposedly have, you’ll also need frequent bone scans.

A New England Journal of Medicine (NMJ) study reveals what a complete scam this is.

Researchers found that women who show no bone loss, or very little loss (osteopenia!) in their first bone scan don’t need another scan in two years, or five years, or 10 years…

These women are safe in waiting as long as 15 years for their next scan!

Even women with moderate bone loss at their first scan don’t need another scan for another five years.

In this study of 5,000 women, about half were in a low-risk, near-normal bone density group at age 67. The lead researcher said that they were surprised that a huge percentage of these older women with normal or near-normal bone density developed osteoporosis very slowly.

Just 10 per cent of the women in this group were diagnosed with osteoporosis within 15 years.

Of course, one study is not going to revolutionize bone treatment. Doctors will keep recommending that schedule… and sadly, they’ll continue to prescribe drugs even if your scan shows normal or low bone density loss… And that’s the real danger.

As I’ve often mentioned, many osteoporosis drugs are potentially dangerous. They increase the risk of fracture in some women and if they’re not swallowed properly, they can even prompt oesophageal cancer.

Women, please share this information with your friends and talk to your doctors about the results of this study.


Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Sources:

“Bone-Density Testing Interval and Transition to Osteoporosis in Older Women” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 366, No. 3, 1/19/12, nejm.org

“Many Older Women May Not Need Frequent Bone Scans” Richard Knox, NPR, 1/18/12, npr.org

“High fructose consumption by adolescents may put them at cardiovascular risk” Georgia Health Sciences University Press Release, 1/24/12, eurekalert.org

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