The Myth of Osteoporosis: What Every Woman Should Know about Creating Bone Health Paperback – Jun 1 2003
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Please Women, let's Wake Up, Research and take charge of our lives instead of being lead by those who look at us as dollar signs.
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First, since there is no consistent, world-wide standard for determining what is "normal" bone density for either females or males, it is a crapshoot as to what standard any given maker of a DEXA machine will employ to measure your bones against--and therefore a crapshoot as to what diagnosis you might get, whether "normal" or "diseased." Second, there seems to be no consideration in the prevailing standard of care for creating and interpreting DEXA results of these crucial concepts about bone health: (a) Loss of bone density is a normal aspect of growing older and for the vast majority of people, it will never either cause or contribute to bone disease. (b) Virtually any adult over the age of 30 randomly selected to have a DEXA scan would find herself diagnosed as either imminently "diseased" (osteopenia) or currently "diseased" (osteoporosis). This is because few people over 30 have the bones of someone in their 20's, and certainly not the bones of elite athletes in their 20's--a comparison group too often held as the "norm" by DEXA machine manufacturers. (c) The definition of true osteoporosis is a disease of poor quality bones in which the internal, inter-linked trabecular structure of the bone has eroded to such an extent that the bones are subject to fracture from low-force impact. A case of true osteoporosis is sometimes extreme enough to reveal itself on a regular high-radiation x-ray, but, unfortunately, it will never show up via a low-radiation DEXA scan. This is because the DEXA is incapable of identifying anything other than raw bone mass AKA "bone mineral density" or BMD. It cannot inform the physician about the micro-architecture of bone, its crystal size and shape, the degree of brittleness, the state of the connectivity of the trabecular network, the vitality of the bone cells, the ability to repair micro-cracks, or the structure of the bone proteins--there is currently no medical test that can do that. (d) As the book emphasizes again and again: BMD is only one of multiple symptoms of the disease of osteoporosis--not the disease itself.
If the author's assertion about BMD is true, you might well wonder why the World Health Organization (WHO) in the not-so-distant past altered its official definition of osteoporosis to a low BMD score on a DEXA test. The author wondered, too, and her research uncovered that this change came about due to successful lobbying of WHO by Big Pharma. She also discovered that Big Pharma moved on from that strategic victory to an equally successful lobbying effort to get doctors in the prosperous West to consistently engage in two inter-connected, DEXA-related actions: (1) urge their patients at increasingly younger ages to get an initial "precautionary" DEXA exam, from which the vast majority of them will inevitably receive "abnormal" readings for the reasons cited above, (2) encourage these newly bone-disease-labeled patients to embark on a lifetime regimen of expensive "bone-building" drugs in order to become and stay "cured" of their "disease."
On reading all this, I could not resist doing the math (which the author did not go so far as to include in her fascinating book): As long-lived as people are these days in the prosperous West, the kind of money Big Pharma could potentially make over time off 30-50 years of drug usage per DEXA-scammed patient could run as much as $50-75,000--or even more, if one factors in inflation and the price gouging Big Pharma is notorious for. If one multiples that figure by potentially tens of millions of patients, the profits could amount to not just billions, but trillions of dollars over time. This is what is known in the world of multi-national-corporate wheeler-dealing as a proverbial "cash cow."
The conclusion is as inevitable as the rigged results of the DEXA machines: if you don't want to be milked by Big Pharma's osteoporosis machine, this book will help you in multiple ways. Chief among them are numerous tips on inexpensive, medically documented ways to protect your bones under your own steam and a list of the major predictive factors of fractures in the elderly (the only authentic reason for alarm at a true diagnosis of osteoporosis). This comprehensive list will show you that BMD is only one among many crucial risk factors for osteoporosis, and reassure you that all of them--including BMD--can be controlled without expensive drugs with serious side effects.
Update November 11, 2010: Lawsuits are coming in thick and fast for oral bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast and Atelvia and their generic alternatives because women on these drugs are experiencing "jawbone death," where the bone in the jaw is destroyed, as well as unusual and unexpected breaks in the thigh bone. The FDA is now forcing Big Pharma to post a warning on these drugs stating that "the optimal period for using the drugs is unknown." In addition, doctors are beginning to rethink urging women over 50 to stay on these dangerous drugs the rest of their lives.
But--when you read the book, be aware of her bias! She relies heavily on the findings of a Dr. Susan Ott, who happens to have an easily accessible website. I looked at it (just type Susan Ott into your search engine) and what I found was the best resource I've ever seen on osteoporosis. Ott's work is much more balanced. There ARE links between low BMD and fractures--Sanson makes it sound like there aren't. Drugs do help, although the side effects are bad. Calcium helps too, but is not the "silver bullet" some say it is. Ott's website has a terrific "calculator" you can use to assess your personal risk of fracture--try it! She also includes an excellent tutorial on how to read those dexa reports. Analyze your report and figure it out before you see your doctor--for sure you'll be more informed about what it says than he or she will be--most docs glance at the total score and prescribe based on that alone.
I found Sanson's discussion of differences in BMD and osteoporosis among countries particularly interesting. Sanson draws the conclusion that animal protein may be a negative factor; interestingly Ott isn't so sure. She notes that in Asian cultures, for example, it is common to suck on chicken bones, even if otherwise the diet consists of fish and vegetables.
As usual, the picture is murky. Sanson argues that the ACTUAL risk of fracture is small, and Ott would agree, especially before the age of 70. And there's no question that there are NO studies beyond a 10 year term or so that track BMD, the efficacy of the drugs and the side effects. But after a lot of research, I've found that everyone agrees heredity, diet and other lifestyle changes are critically important (what else is new?). If you get a bad test result my advice is NOT "consult your doctor"--read up on it first. Sanson's book is a good resource--but not the only one.
Your instincts are right. You don't need it. It won't help, and most likely it will cause harm over time.
Menopausal women bring in millions of dollars to the pharmaceutical companies around the world. We are easy prey, because we are being told that aging is a disease and we believe it.
This book is worth every penny. You will be glad you read it.
scan and was diagnosed with
osteoporosis (or low bone
density). My doctor was
very "dramatic" when she tried
to explain the big DANGER
that I was headed toward. She
said, "You'll break a hip and
end up in a nursing home and you
will die. That's your prognosis
if you don't do something about
this NOW." She hit her wrist
very forcefully and said, "You
cannot do this, because if you
do, your wrist will break and
it will not heal." Luckily, I
act from information and not
panic, and this sounded very
one-sided to me. She strongly
recommended that I take
day for one year to build
up bone mass. I am only 48
years old and am very healthy,
other than this
low bone density condition. (My
life style has been to eat well
and exercise since I was very
young. I have never smoked and
drank very little. I am
at my proper weight, which has
never fluctuated more than 10
pounds, and many
people think that I am ten years
book was God-sent! After reading
it, I got blood tested for Vitamin D deficiency.
I learned that I had no Vitamin D
in my system, which most Americans
are in the same boat! (I am rarely out in the sun
for long periods of time, other than
driving.) Therefore I was not
absorbing the calcium from my proper
nutrition. I got on
1,000 mg. of Vitamin D per day, in addition
to my usual multi-vitamin supplements, and
added a small portion of healthy fat
(butter on toast, or a small slice
of avocado with the tiny Vitamin D pill since it
is fat soluable; in other words your
body will not absorb Vitamin D unless
one eats a little fat along with it...My diet
does not include much fat, so I make sure to
eat a small portion of fat with the Vitamin D.) Within
hours I felt like someone had 'plugged
me into the wall!' I had so much energy,
and two weeks later I still feel unusually
healthier and with more energy than I ever
remember. I have to remind myself to go
to bed by my usual time, which is 10:30 or 11,
because I am so energized! Because of this
book and others that I have read to
research the BIG SCARE OF OSTEOPOROSIS
by the medical "experts" I was able
to zero in on my own particular body
without drugs that cause other dangerous
side effects, like bone cancer. The FDA
has approved this drug for bone building
with the highest level warning on the box.
The new bones are not strong,but fragile AND this
drug caused cancer in laboratory rats.
The MYTH about Osteoporosis helped me to
become familiar with many well-researched
facts regarding bone mass and the DEXA machines,
Bottom line is that NO machine can predict whether
or not one will fall and break
a hip due to bone density! The book is jam
packed with information. These
machines are all set by their various
manufacturers and the data that
they use to compare the individual
being scanned to other person's bone mass
does not make sense! EVERY WOMAN SHOULD
READ THIS INFORMATIVE BOOK!!!
BEING SCARED AND/OR BULLIED BY DOCTORS!
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