Archive for June, 2013
CBC is Complete Blood Count. That means red cells, white cells, and platelets. A normal CBC eliminates diseases of the bone marrow such as leukemia or myeloma, both of which can cause osteoporosis and Fragility Fractures. I rarely find patients with these conditions, and then, almost always in early, treatable stages.
By far the most common finding in a CBC is mildly low numbers of red cells. This is usually something a person has had for years and is of no concern. However, low red cells (anemia) can indicate a problem with nutrition.
TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. This is the common screen for thyroid function. Thyroid function decreases with age, often suddenly. In women this often happens between 40 and 70. “Low thyroid”(hypothyroidism) is the most common unrecognized hormone deficiency contributing to osteoporosis in women, and in some men too.
The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and sits in the neck just below the adam’s apple (larynx). Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, temperature sensitivity, weight gain – already common in middle aged women and men. Once it is recognized, hypothyroidism is routinely treated with synthetic human thyroid hormone.
Patients often ask “What’s that for?” when I order blood tests. They understand that DXA is for Bone Mineral Density (BMD). They understand Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA) when I show the lateral Spine image to them on the screen. Blood tests are a bit more challenging.
Osteoporosis is often caused or made worse by other diseases and conditions. We screen for the common diseases and conditions. Some of them are easily corrected. Easy or hard, they must be identified and corrected to maximize bone health and minimize fracture risk. For this we need blood tests.
Early Saturday morning a small miracle happened. A baby girl was born. Every newborn baby is a miracle, full of potential to change the world. This one was personal, my first granddaughter. A wonderful Fathers’ Day present for her father and grandfather.