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Posts Tagged ‘Bone Mineral Density’

Treat to Target #4 – TBS

February 16, 2018 @ 7:05 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Our goal is NO NEW FRACTURES.  Cancellous (spongy, like the ends of the drumstick) bone should be a strong latticework of struts called trabeculi.  Clinical Osteoporosis, an increased fracture risk, occurs when some of the struts disappear.

Trabecular Bone Score (TBS) evaluates the spongy bone in the DXA images of the vertebrae (spine) looking for irregularities.  When TBS finds uneven bone mineral density within the spine DXA, that indicates a higher fracture risk, regardless of the total BMD.

Adding the TBS feature to a DXA machine allows the quality of bone in the spine to influence the FRAX score, just like the BMD in the femoral neck part of the hip influences the FRAX score.  Adding TBS detects more patients at high fracture risk who should be treated to avoid fractures.

Diabetes increases a person’s fracture risk for any given DXA BMD or T-score.  Controlled diabetes adds about the same risk as rheumatoid arthritis, so we usually check that box in FRAX.  Uncontrolled diabetes is more serious requiring further adjustment to FRAX.

FRAX is pre-empted by a hip fracture.  “Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, start a pharmaceutical”  Vertebral (spine) Fracture is the same, but the majority of spine fractures are not noticed clinically.  “Morphometric” (first noticed on x-ray) vertebral fractures count, but how to find them?

VFA next time

Jay Ginther, MD

Treat to Target # 2 – Fragility Fracture

January 31, 2018 @ 8:23 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Treat to Target means aiming for NO NEW FRACTURES.  As discussed last time, the original target was to maintain Bone Mineral Density (BMD) at the level first tested.  25 years ago that was amended to be a T-score of -2.4 or higher, since “osteoporosis the test result” was set at -2.5.

But what if you already have fractured?  Clinical Osteoporosis the diagnosis is a T-score of -1.5 plus a “Fragility Fracture” acquired in any fall from standing height, even on ice.  That is because for the first year after a fracture your risk is 5 times normal. Your risk decreases to 2 times normal after 5 years, but always is higher after a fragility fracture.

If your Fragility Fracture was a Hip Fracture, you have Clinical Osteoporosis regardless of DXA BMD and T-score.  You are at high risk of future fracture, especially of the other hip.  You should start treatment to prevent a new fracture.  At the very least you need to optimize calcium, vitamin D3, protein, and multiple vitamins & minerals intake.

If you also need a pharmaceutical, it should be one which can raise your T-score above -2.5 if you have no fractures, and above -1.5 if you already have a fracture.  That usually means considering an anabolic.  Your goal is NO NEW FRACTURES.

FRAX next time.

Jay Ginther, MD

Treat to Target #1 – Which Target?

June 19, 2017 @ 6:30 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Treat to Target has been standard for chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes for decades.  These are chronic diseases, more common as we get older, that we can control with diet, exercise, and eventually medication.  We cannot cure them.

Bone health joins the Treat to Target club in 2017.  Increased Fracture Risk (Clinical Osteoporosis) is a chronic disease, more common as we get older, that we can control with diet, exercise, and eventually medication.  We cannot cure Increased Fracture Risk, so treatment of some sort is necessary “forever”.

What is our target?  Traditionally it has been maintaining the T-score found at the first assessment.   This does not necessarily make sense, especially if there already are fractures.  The target should be NO NEW FRACTURES.  This is a game changer.

This means that we are aiming for a Bone Mineral Density T-score higher than -2.5 in someone who has not yet fractured.  How we get there requires a new approach to medications, once we have reached the limits of Take Control Naturally detailed in previous posts.

This also means we need to check the VFA for previous Vertebral Compression Fractures, most of which go un-noticed, mistaken for pulled muscles.  (I did that a few years back.)

THE TARGET IS NO NEW FRACTURES.

Jay Ginther, MD

“Treat to Target” and “Use VFA” in 2017

April 23, 2017 @ 8:50 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Clinical Osteoporosis 2017, NOF and ISCD joint meeting had a different emphasis this year.  Fracture Risk, rather than Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is now the key metric.  Several speakers emphasizd the importance of VFA in making the diagnosis of Clinical Osteoporosis.  This is something I have presented in poster exhibits 2015, 2016 and 2017.  I am now mainstream!

“Treat to Target” was the big new message this year.  We should set a target of decreased Fracture Risk for each patient and alter treatment until we reach it.  This has been routine for years in diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc.  This is recognition that Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that we can control, but never cure, just like many others.

Take Control Naturally is the necessary first step, as I have outlined over the last few months.  This is often sufficient for prevention and in mild disease.

Advanced Osteoporosis, especially after fragility fractures, or vertebral compression fractures seen on VFA, is usually beyond nutrition and exercise only.  This will usually require medications to significantly reduce fracture risk.

The huge change is the recommendation to use an Anabolic medication first, to markedly reduce fracture risk, when BMD is very low or multiple fractures have already occured.  Then follow up with an Antiresorptive to maintain a low fracture risk.  Traditionally Medicare and other insurances have demanded we try Antiresorptives first to maintain bone as it is, even when multiple fractures have proven the bone to NOT be good enough at curent BMD.

We are entering a new age of Fracture Prevention!!

Jay Ginther, MD