Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
None of us are getting any younger and as we age, our bones gradually lose their density and become vulnerable to the disease known as osteoporosis. This is a disease in which our bones become brittle resulting in disabling fractures. But how do you know how vulnerable you are and if you are actually at risk?
This question has been severely complicated, first by the pharmaceutical industry and second by the World Health Organization by a relatively new concocted diagnosis; Osteopenia, or bone density that is below what is considered normal but not low enough to be called Osteoporosis.
Millions of people worldwide, mostly women, have been told they have osteopenia and should take drugs to inhibit bone loss. But the drugs carry so many risks and have such a multitude of side-effects that most public health experts say the diagnosis often does more harm than good.
Now the World Health Organization has developed an online tool meant to help doctors and patients determine when it is appropriate to start treatment for deteriorating bones.
The World Health Organization (WHO) are the same people who claimed the H1N1 influenza virus was a world-wide pandemic and caused the most horrible panic over the mildest flu in our history. The fact that the death rate was very low and the fact that it only affected small select groups of the population did not stop them from spreading fear and creating a mass hysteria in our society.
They have now created this tool called FRAX (Fracture Risk Assessment Tool) which is supposed to determine your risk of fracture and if you follow the formula they have developed you will find that the use of a class of prescription drugs called bisphosphonates is your only solution to preventing your bones from getting fractured. But FRAX is just as controversial as the diagnosis of osteopenia because the mathematical algorithm that determines if you need the drug is faulty and recommends drug use for a condition that you actually do not have.
Osteopenia is an invented diagnosis, not a disease. It was invented by the pharmaceutical industry to put fear into the hearts of women insuring that they take a prescription drug to prevent the real disease known as osteoporosis. Now we have the WHO joining forces with the pharmaceutical industry to scare even more women into using bisphosphonate drugs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a division of the United Nations and is supposed to receive all their funding from the United Nations. Their stated goal is to eradicate contagious diseases in the world such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Aids etc. It seems that they have now expanded their horizons by accepting money from the pharmaceutical industry and have taken a large interest in the bone health of people in Europe and North America. I do not think that this was the intent of the United Nations when they formed this organization.
It was a WHO panel financed by the pharmaceutical industry that in 1994 defined normal bone mass as that of an average 30 year old woman. As we age our body parts deteriorate. Our skin gets thinner, our hair gets thinner and our bones become less dense. Anyone older than thirty should have bones less dense than a 30 year old and therefore qualifies for a diagnosis of osteopenia. Using this same logic you could say that a middle aged woman who has more wrinkled skin than her thirty year old daughter should be diagnosed with a skin disorder and treated.
As more and more drugs come on the market to treat thinning bones we find drug companies paying for the installation of bone-measuring density devices in doctor’s offices, drugstores, health clubs and shopping malls. Just recently I actually had an ultra sound bone density test done in Longo’s Supermarket. They put my bare foot in some type of ultra sound machine, asked me a few questions and sent me home with a diagnosis of osteopenia. At the age of 66 my bones are definitely thinner than the bones of any 30 year old person.
Since 2003, annual sales of osteoporosis drugs have doubled to over 8.3 billion dollars according to Kalorama Information, a provider of market research on medicine.
The FRAX test does not take significant factors into its equation. It does not consider Vitamin D deficiency; it does not take into account exercise that stimulates muscle and causes bone growth; it does not take into account drugs for epilepsy, antidepressants and proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Losec and Prilosec and corticosteroids which can erode bone. In many cases you can stop the deterioration of your bones by getting off of these damaging drugs.
I tried to get the actual mathematical formula to determine the FRAX score of a patient but the WHO refuses to release it to the public. In my opinion there is no way to validate the equation if you do not know the independent contribution or weight of each risk factor. WHO claims that the reason for keeping the formula secret is to keep the tool from being tampered with so that it remains authentic.
The two leading manufacturers of bone scanning equipment, GE Lunar and Hologic are in advanced negotiations at this time with the World Health Organization to incorporate FRAX into their software. This would mean that when you get your T score of your bone density, you would also receive a calculation of fracture risk along with it.
If they succeed almost every person who gets a bone density scan will be advised to take drugs to prevent osteoporosis. Not only can these drugs cause severe gastrointestinal upset but they actually interfere with normal bone formation. Merck’s popular drug Fosomax is the subject of hundreds of lawsuits by patients who claim that it caused osteonecrosis of the jaw, a rare disease that breaks down the jawbone.
Bones are fluid structures that are continually remodeled, broken down by cells called osteoclasts and rebuilt by cells called osteoblasts. Bone injuries or microcracks occur all the time from ordinary bone stress. Bone re-absorbing osteoclasts remove the damage so that bone-building osteoblasts can fix it. This same process occurs during any kind of bone fracture and the process takes 5 to 6 weeks.
Prescription drugs like Fosomax work by adding minerals to the bone and making them denser and less prone to fracture. However, in order to do this they interfere with the normal bone cycle of osteoclasts and osteoblasts. This means that if you were taking one of the bisphosphonate drugs and you fractured a bone you would have to stop taking the medication in order for your bone to heal naturally.
The FRAX guidelines call for medication when the calculated risk for hip fracture in the next 10 years is 3 per cent, or the combined risk of a broken hip, vertebra, shoulder or wrist is 20 per cent. However in 2009, Dr.Alkonso-Coella was the lead author of an analysis of osteoporosis drugs published in the British Medical Journal, concluding that they were largely ineffective and unnecessary in women with osteopenia.
Any activity that uses your muscles will build bones in your body at any age. Simply walking each day will stimulate all the bones in the lower portion of your body. If you put a 2 or 3 pound weight in each hand as you walk you have now taken care of the bones in your upper torso. You do not have to go to the gym and work out vigorously. However, if you do you will get amazing results.
You must have a diet that provides you with 1000 to 1500mg a day of Calcium, 500mg of magnesium and 1000 units a day of Vitamin D. Whatever is lacking from the food that you eat can be supplemented with products from the health food store.
The first sign of the actual disease of osteoporosis will be breaking tiny little bones such as breaking a bone in your wrist while working in the garden. If this happens you must then discard the natural method and take the drugs knowing that at least in the future you will be protected from major fractures such as your hip.
Osteopenia is not the diagnosis of a disease. It is a warning that the time has come to exercise regularly and eat healthier to preserve the quality of your bones.