Are bone density scans being overdone? NY Times article explores new information
For years, the standard for bone density was the standard x ray which would show osteoporosis. Then came the dexxa scan, then the numbers, then the perscriptions for medications such as Boneva which were supposed to cause bone density in older women to reform. Next came the side effects including some unusual unnatural fractures. Quite simply, women are scared by this health threat which affects only a small portion of the populace, and have yet another concern to contend with. Is bone density really being used as an excuse for more doctor visits and more perscriptions being written?
New information is now showing our obsession with density numbers may be overdone (thank god for some sanity here!). In general, the older generation of today is more active than those who retired and were mostly sedentary. Those who were sedentary and got less sun (Vitamin D) were more likely to have lower bone densities. In todays world, there are still going to be a small portion of the population who will have problems with density, sometimes due to heredity, however now, the data suggests bone density testing has indeed been overdone.
Check out the NY Times article here
Osteoporosis Patients Advised to Delay Bone Density Retests
By GINA KOLATA
Bone loss and osteoporosis develop so slowly in most women whose bones test normal at age 65 that many can safely wait as long as 15 years before having a second bone density test, researchers report in a new study.
The study,published in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, is part of a broad rethinking of how to diagnose and treat the potentially debilitating bone disease that can lead to broken hips and collapsing spines.
A class of drugs, bisphosphonates, which includes Fosamax, have been found to prevent fractures in people with osteoporosis. But medical experts no longer recommend the medicines to prevent osteoporosis itself. They no longer want women to take them indefinitely, and no longer consider bone density measurements the sole defining factor in deciding if a woman needs to be treated.