Posts Tagged ‘Vertebral Fracture’

You Don’t Have To Fall To Break A Hip

December 4, 2014 @ 7:29 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Sometimes a person breaks a hip first, then they fall.  This happens a lot more often than we realize.  When the break is just below the ball of the hip, the fracture may have come before the fall.  Moreover, that Fragility Fracture may have gradually developed over days or weeks.

How is it possible that a person does not realize that the hip is gradually crumbling?  We call it a Stress Fracture when a crack gradually developes.  Small cracks gradually getting bigger are usually not recognized until they are completely across the bone and it breaks, causing the patient to fall.  Why?

The aching pain of a stress fracture is often too gradual to distinguish from arthritis pain until the break is complete and the whole bone collapses.  The best way to see this process is to watch a video of the I-35W bridge collapsing in Minneapolis on 1st August 2007.  http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=i35w+collapse   Tiny cracks slowly developed in the steel until one day……..THUD!

How can you detect who is at high Hip Fracture Risk?  A very low DXA T-score, especially in the spine, is a good indication.  But DXA often fails if the spine is already crumbling or has arthritis.  A better indication is Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA).  Looking at the spine from the side, Vertebral Compression Deformities can indicate crumbling spongy bone in the spine before the spongy bone in the hip also crumbles.

Know where you stand.  Get a Complete Bone Health Evaluation.  Take Control of your future.

Jay Ginther, MD

How Hard Is It To Manage Bone Density?

November 23, 2014 @ 7:57 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Wrong Question!  What you should be managing is Fracture Risk.  If you only look at Bone Mineral Density (BMD), you miss the chance to decrease Fracture Risk in the overwhelming majority of people.

85% of the women who Fracture have a DXA score of “osteopenia” or even “normal”.  Keeping their bone density at “only osteopenia” does them no favor.  So how can you manage Fracture Risk?

Forteo is a daily shot.  That is a nuicence, but a small price to pay for the only Anabolic, the only osteoporosis medication which will increase bone mass in spongy (cancellous) bone.  Diabetics give themselves a daily shot for the rest of their lives.  Forteo is for only 2 years and uses a tiny insulin needle. 

People worry about the warning that lab rats got Osteosarcoma after being given very high doses of Teriparatide for the equivalent of 70 human years.  We have not seen this in humans, or chimps, or monkeys, or dogs.  Rats have bones that grow all their lives.  We do not give Forteo to growing humans, pregnant women, nursing women, persons with Paget’s Disease or unexplained elevated Alkaline Phosphatase, or persons who have had radiation to their bones.

Remember that you must take adequate Calcium, with food, spread out over 3 meals. You must take enough Vitamin D3 to be able to absorb Calcium.  You must eat enough Protein for your OsteoBlasts to make new bone matrix.

Anabolic Medications Make New Bone

October 6, 2014 @ 7:51 am
posted by Dr Ginther

Anabolic medication for osteoporosis actually increases bone thickness and strength!  Antiresorptive medications for osteoporosis (Fosamax, Alendronate, Actonel, Atelvia, Boniva, Evista, Reclast, Prolia) only preserve bone.

We have talked about all of the Antiresorptive medications over the last 2 months.  They are excellent treatment if slowing down the OsteoClasts (cells that eat away your bone) is sufficient.  That is not always the case.

Now it is time to talk about something completely different.  Anabolic medication stimulates the OsteoBlasts (cells that make new bone matrix).  OsteoBlasts can rebuild your bones.  If you have Fractures, your bones may need to be rebuilt.

Forteo (Teriparatide) is the only Anabolic medication for osteoporosis in the USA.  Close cousins of Forteo are available in other countries.

You may need the Anabolic, Forteo, if you have a hip fracture, multiple other fractures, or if VFA testing reveals a Vertebral Compression Fracture.  A DXA T-score well below -2.5 can be reason enough without fracture.

Glucocorticoid (Cortico-Steroid) medications (Prednisone, Steroid Inhalers) specifically supress OsteoBlasts (cells that make new bone).  Stimulating the OsteoBlasts with the Anabolic, Forteo, can offset the bone loss from Steroid medications.  Smoking also supresses OsteoBlasts, leading to bone loss.  Stopping Smoking would be best, but Forteo can help.

Not everyone needs an Anabolic, but some individuals do.  A Complete Bone Health Evaluation will tell you if an Anabolic is right for you.

More about Forteo (Teriparatide) next time.

Jay Ginther, MD