Posts Tagged ‘Bone Mineral Density’
Why do some patients, who are already on good osteoporosis preventing or treating medications, still have a falling Bone Mineral Density? Are the medications not working? Not as well as they should! Why? Even the best medications cannot work without enough CALCIUM intake and absorption.
If you want to improve your bones you must ABSORB enough calcium. This can be a bit tricky. You need the right kind of calcium, taken in food or with food, and spread out over 3 meals or snacks. “Calcium” is Calcium Carbonate which requires lots of acid to dissolve. This often is a problem if you take antacids, have heartburn or GERD, have digestive issues like lactose sensitivity, celiac or IBS, or are just “too old”, which begins at 50.
Calcium in foods is easy to absorb. Calcium Citrate tablets or Tricalcium Phosphate Gummies require 2 tablets or gummies to total the 400 or 500 or 600 mg on the label. Adora Chocolates are 500 mg each. We recommend taking in 1200-1500 mg calcium daily. That means 400-500mg at each of 3 meals.
DXA does not show bones. DXA shows calcium. Calcium stiffens and strengthens bones. You cannot have good BMD or good bones without enough calcium! Take control of your bone health with adequate calcium in diet and supplements.
Next time a listing of Calcium in Foods
Jay Ginther, MD
National Bone Health treatment goals are changing for those patients with high fracture risk. Simply preserving bones already at a too high fracture risk never made much sense to this former orthopedic surgeon. Now the national leadership is stressing the need to lower fracture risk first, then preserve bones at a lower level of fracture risk.
We now have 3 anabolic medications which substantially lower fracture risk by increasing the thickness and strength of bone structure: Teriparatide (Forteo), Abaloparitide (Tymlos), and Romosozumab (Evenity). They all decrease fracture risk substantially more than the antiresorptive (preserving) medications alone. The difference in fracture risk grows for up to 5 years. After that the difference in fracture risk between anabolic meds followed by preserving meds vs. preserving meds alone remains the same.
Calcium can take up to 3 additional years to collect in newly formed bone matrix. DXA shows calcium in bone (Bone Mineral Density). Much of the increased BMD can only be seen on DXA after the anabolic med is completed and the antiresorptive med is started.
All of the anabolic medications must be followed by antiresorptive medication to preserve the gains made by the anabolic. No medication to grow or preserve bone can work without adequate nutrition in the form of absorbable calcium, vitamin D3, protein and other vitamins and minerals.
Jay Ginther, MD
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 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