Well, I guess the day had to come some time. I was first diagnosed with early osteoporosis back in 2007 when I fell off a chair and broke my shoulder. At first they thought I was drunk! At 11am?! I’m not that bad! But then they decided they’d better check my bones and said I had some signs of osteoporosis. I think they recommended bisphosphonates even then, but I didn’t like the sound of them so gave them a miss.
Unfortunately, I can’t take calcium – it makes me sick – so I had to rely solely on vit D3 to protect my bones to some extent at least. And HRT.
I’ve had several DEXA scans since that first one, each showing progressive deterioration, and each time being offered bisphosphonates.
Last week, however, my latest DEXA scan results came with huge pressure to take bisphosponhates. With scary phrases like ‘significantly below average’, ‘significantly increased risk for future osteoporotic fracture’ and ‘a definite requirement for consideration of bisphosphonate prophylaxis’. Hmmmm. I don’t think so.
First, my results state a 34% 10-year risk of ‘major fracture’. What ‘major fracture’? It’s only my hips that are particularly worrying. And, in any case, my positive brain reads that as a 66% 10-year risk of no fractures! The results say a 15% 10-year risk of a hip fracture. So an 85% chance of no hip fracture? Doesn’t sound so bad to me!
Also, my 2016 results are not so very different from my 2013 results:
Spine t-score -1.7 -1.9
Femoral neck t-score -3.0 -3.08
So then I went and revisited research on standard osteoporosis treatments. And confirmed my horror of them. Oral bisphosponates irritate the oesophagus and can cause oesophageal cancer. I am already prone to oesophagitis, and have several inflammatory autoimmune conditions; I don’t think deliberate oesophageal irritation would be in my best interests. The GP suggested taking omeprazole for a day or so either side of taking the tablets; I’m not encouraged to take a drug that requires another one to counteract its negative side effects! Plus, omeprazole and other proton pump inhibitors reduce stomach acid. The bisphosphonates can cause ocular inflammation; I have Sjogrens which already makes my eyes vulnerable. They are poorly absorbed into the GI tract – and I already have malabsorption. The drugs can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw. And are associated with more ‘atypical femoral fractures’. Plus, they only preserve old bone, they don’t promote new bone growth, in fact they reduce it. And they make the old bone more brittle. So the drugs don’t even do ‘what it says on the tin’.
So, all in all, I’m not impressed with what the orthodox medical profession has to offer in this case!
I turned instead to sites and groups discussing natural therapies. And I’ve already done my first day’s 50 heel drops! This apparently has been proven to prevent further bone loss in the hip and even to promote new bone growth. Other exercises include wall push-ups, one-legged swings, and lunges. In addition, of course, to everyday exercise such as walking.
There are mineral and vitamin supplements to consider as well, along with a healthy diet. Apparently, 70% of the Western diet is made up of just four foods: dairy, sugar, grains and potatoes – no wonder we’re all sick and (literally!) cracking up. I can’t claim to strictly adhere to the ‘stoneage’ diet but I do avoid some of the worst culprits, including those four above. I already take many of the recommended supplements like Vit D3, Vit C and magnesium. Calcium is not recommended as a supplement – it should ideally be obtained through diet and assisted with Vit K2; something I probably shouldn’t take as Vit K promotes coagulation and I am already prone to clotting. I might consider adding boron into the mix, as this is shown to aid bone health, but I understand you can get it from prunes. Ten a day are recommended; not sure I’ll be taking 10, I’d be constantly on the loo! But luckily, I do love prunes and am happy to have some for breakfast every day.
There are a lot of myths out there about osteoporosis and the medical profession doesn’t seem up to speed on either causes or treatments. I’ll be doing my own thing and asking for a retest in 12 months.