Has your doctor suggested you need a bone mineral density test?
"Bone mineral density testing is a poor predictor of future fractures, but an excellent predictor of the start of drug use. "
Barbara Mintzes, University of British Columbia
British Medical Journal, 4/13/02
Osteopenia is the word used to describe loss of bone density and is thought to be a precursor to Osteoporosis. The term Osteopenia did not even exist until a little over a decade ago. It became popular in medical literature about the same time as the drug Fosamax entered the market.
Osteopenia refers to bone mineral density (BMD) that is lower than normal peak BMD but not low enough to be classified as Osteoporosis. Bone mineral density is a measurement of the level of minerals in the bones, which indicates how dense and strong they are. If your BMD is low compared to normal peak BMD, you are said to have Osteopenia. Having osteopenia means there is a greater risk, that as time passes, you may develop BMD that is very low compared to normal, known as osteoporosis.
What causes Osteopenia?
Bones naturally become thinner as people grow older because, beginning in middle age, existing bone cells are reabsorbed by the body faster than new bone is made. As this occurs, the bones lose minerals, heaviness (mass), and structure, making them weaker and increasing their risk of breaking. All people begin losing bone mass after they reach peak BMD at about 30 years of age.
Theoretically, the more dense your bones are at about age 30, the longer it takes to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Some people who have osteopenia may not have bone loss; they may just naturally have a lower bone density. Osteopenia may also be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, disease processes, or treatments.
"Osteoporosis is a more advanced condition in which the bones have become increasingly porous, brittle, and subject to fracture, owing to loss of calcium and other mineral components, sometimes resulting in pain, decreased height, and skeletal deformities: common in older persons, primarily postmenopausal women, but also associated with long-term steroid therapy and certain endocrine disorders".
Women are far more likely to develop osteopenia and osteoporosis than men. This is because women have a lower peak BMD and because the loss of bone mass speeds up as hormonal changes take place at the time of menopause. It has been found that prescribed Estrogen seems to help increase bone density. However, estrogen supplementation has also been linked to higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancer and heart disease.
Osteoporosus, which literally means “porous bones, " describes bones that are weak and brittle - so brittle t hat even mild stresses like bending over, lifting a vacuum cleaner or coughing can cause a fracture. In most cases, bones weaken when you have low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in your bones.
A common result of porous bones is fractures - most of them in the spine, hip or wrist. Although it's often thought of as a woman's disease, osteoporosis also affects many men. And aside from people who have osteoporosis, many more have low bone density.
It's never too late - or too early -
You can take steps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life.
I have many younger friends who have been told that they have Osteopenia. As a result, they have been prescribed a medication that they have been instructed to take for the rest of their lives! The medicine is extremely expensive and as they have yet to find all the side effects, it appears that the only one who will really benefit from it is the drug company that produces it.
In 2006, for example, these drugs became the second most profitable prescribed and used drug in the United States, netting $3.2 billion in sales.
The medical establishment and media are touting Fosamax-and similar drugs in the category of bisphosphonates-as the answer to bone density problems. That is far from the truth.
Particularly when it comes to drugs, whenever you hear an assertion, it behooves you to note the source. We must realize that when we hear about drug research in the news, the report usually comes from the company that is producing the drug, so the chances of pro-drug bias are extremely high.
And there is a natural remedy that is incredibly safer and cheaper, and the user doesn't experience counterproductive side effects. Instead, the inclusion of several bone-growth-enhancing minerals and vitamins results in the growth of dense, strong bones. How do I know? It happened for me!
Dr. Nan Fuchs, in her special report, Bone Health News, (May 2008) has warned that in the results of the bone density scan, it appears that the bone has become more dense after a patient has been on Fosamax. However, the truth is that it is not due to new bone growth. The drug simply prevents the old calcium from leaving the bone in the natural break down and replacement process that our Designer planned. Therefore the bone more dense, but at the same time it is becoming more brittle, which is definitely not an advantage.
Having broken the same hip TWICE-and then having had operations both times to take out the pins, screws, and metal plate, I can attest to the fact that there is a safer, far more successful way to deal with bone health -through several natural nutrients.
Dr. Robert Jay Rowen in his September 2007 health letter, Second Opinion, has also warned that people who have been on the drug for some time have begun to experience necrosis (death) of the jaw bone. He told of one patient who came to him after taking Fosamax for 9 years. She woke up one morning with excruciating pain in her jaw. The result being that she had to endure repeated surgeries (finally replacing part of her jaw with titanium). She also took antibiotics to fight the infections of the jaw and lost several teeth, plus has permanent loss of sensation on one side of her face. In fact, hundreds of people have had similar experiences, and many are presently involved in a lawsuit against Merck because the drug producer ignored the Food and Drug Administration's August 2004 request to add a warning label to the drug.
For a safer, proven way to treat bone density problems, or to read the rest of this free report. Please visit my site at reverseosteoporosis.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Muryal Braun has been a Nutritional Researcher for 40 years. She has given lectures and published articles in this field and has applied good health principles in her own life to maintain a very active and healthy lifestyle at 80 years of age. Her website http://www.reverseosteoporosis.org/ is dedicated to helping others avoid unnecessary drugs in favor of healthy alternatives. Her blog for timely information is http://www.reverseosteopenia.com