Richard G. Petty, MD

Predicting Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis or thinning of the bones, is an extremely common problem that may lead to bone fractures, particularly in older, postmenopausal women. But sadly we are not good at predicting who will get a fracture. Simply measuring bone density is a long way from being a perfect predictor of who will go on to break bones because of osteoporosis.

A new research study from Melbourne, Australia has just come out in the journal Radiology. The researchers have devised a mathematical formula that is quite good at predicting who will get a fracture over a two-year period. The formula calculate’s a woman’s risk of developing a fracture with 75% accuracy. The fact that it misses 25% may not sound good, but it’s actually a big advance.

The researchers examined 231 women with osteoporosis who had suffered bone fractures and 448 women who had not.They discovered that several factors including bone density levels in the spine and hip, weight, and the number of previous fractures were related to the likelihood of sustaining another fracture. By taking all these measurements into account, the team was able to develop a predictive formula. The formula itself is enough to make your head spin, but it will be very easy to use in practice.

We do have a number of effective treatments, including hormone replacement therapy, vitamin D and calcium supplements, and non-hormonal medicines including the bisphosphonates like sodium alendronate (Fosamax®) 10 mg a day or 70 mg once a week, risedronate (Actonel®) 5mg a day or 35mg once a week or and ibandronate (Boniva® once a month)and parathyroid hormone. There are several other medicines in the pipeline, and there have been claims that homeopathy may also help.

The trouble has been knowing which patients to target. Nobody wants to give everyone medicines if we can avoid it. Hence any form of accurate prediction about who might benefit from what, is to be welcomed.

Remember that there is good evidence that several small lifestyle adjustments can reduce your risk of osteoporosis:

  1. Exercise
  2. A diet rich in calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and green vegetables. Reduce sodium and refined sugar.
  3. Supplemental calcium with vitamin D, magnesium and boron
  4. Do not smoke
  5. Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol

There are seveal medicines and illnesses that can increase the risk of osteoporosis, and a health care provider will know to be particularly careful about monitoring bone mineral density and applying this new formula.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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