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Old 01-20-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
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New Study on Bone Scans

The New England Journal of Medicine is reporting that osteoporosis doesn't develop as fast as originally thought and is recommending that women with normal bone density get a scan every fifteen years and women with osteopenia get scanned every five years. The research found that only 10% of women on the borderline of osteopenia and osteoporosis developed osteoporosis the next year.

Is this research valid, or another step to try and ration health care? If this research is valid, many women were needlessly frightened by their doctors about developing osteoporosis and given bone density drugs unnecessarily, and I wonder how much the drug companies influenced the previous interpretation of research showing that osteoporosis develops so quickly that many of us need to be on their dangerous drugs!

 
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Next thing they'll be reporting is that nobody under 85 years of age even has osteoporosis. I refuse to be frightened about this diagnosis any longer. It has impacted my life for the past 10 years enough.

 
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Hi Jacal5, great to see you here again, it's been a long time!

Thank you for bringing up this article, it's interesting. As one who was on the borderline of osteopenia a few years ago, I must say, it struck a sense of panic in me to get my DEXA scan results, so I would be one who WAS scared silly needlessly if this report is valid!

I do worry though, for people who take meds that do interfere with vitamin absorption, such as PPI's. They could be a potential risk for osteoporosis, might this be a legitimate case where a DEXA scan is in order? The reason I bring this up is a good friend's husband took PPI's for the many years, all of a sudden the drug stopped working. This Christmas, he took a fall while putting up lights and broke ribs. When his doctor sent him for the DEXA as a precaution, it revealed serious osteoporosis. He is reacting badly to Boniva! So did the PPI actually cause osteoporisis, or would he have developed it anyway??? If they had caught it earlier, could the bisphosphates have stopped the progression of the disease??? I guess I just have too many questions and there are no easy answers...

 
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:41 PM   #4
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Thanks rufous57, that's so sweet of you to welcome me back! As soon as Halloween comes every year, it's non-stop entertaining and shopping for me until Jan 1, with family birthdays and the holidays. This year I had the added stress of having a broken fridge from Sept. to Dec., I finally got rid of the 18 month old new fridge which gave me so many problems, it's a good thing I got the extended warranty, the warranty company bought me out of the repair cost, so I got a brand new one (a different brand) with their money a few days before Christmas.

Unfortunately, with no working fridge, I stopped juicing and doing lots of cooking because I couldn't store fresh fruits and veggies without walking up and down two flights of stairs to my basement fridge, so I ate out a lot...and gained about 9 pounds between the fridge problem and the holidays! A few weeks ago I got the stomach virus that is going around, so I haven't felt like eating very much, so maybe I dropped a few pounds (lol). With everything going on, I neglected these message boards and plenty of other things I normally do until the holidays were over.

My best friend is on PPI's off and on, because her doc doesn't want the meds to give her osteoporosis (she's been on steroids, also), but she doesn't have osteopenia or osteoporosis, so she's doing good in regard to her bones, despite being on those meds for years. I suppose if there are medication risk factors for osteoporosis the bone scan will still be paid for by the insurers, the doctors usually get their way in situations like that.

BTW, how are you feeling, have your physical problems alleviated somewhat? I hope so!

Take care...

 
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:28 AM   #5
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Having not read the report, I'll have to assume that they are discussing post menopause females.

"The research found that only 10% of women on the borderline of osteopenia and osteoporosis developed osteoporosis the next year. "

From the numbers I've seen, this should read 90%.


"is recommending that women with normal bone density get a scan every fifteen years"

I do believe that those with normal bone density can do with less scans but I am not so sure that it should be 15 years.


"and women with osteopenia get scanned every five years."

This would depend on the T-scores. At -1.1, one could probably go every five years to be "on top of things". However, at -2.4, one may not want to wait five years.


"I refuse to be frightened about this diagnosis any longer. "
I do believe that more people need this attitude.

 
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:12 AM   #6
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

I've decided I'm just not going to have any more scans. My main complaint is that don't do a "baseline" when we are young. So how do we know that my score today isn't what it was when I was 35? I'm a petite white female...get real. I lost the lottery on this one. But I jog 3-4 times a week, work out with weights and a trainer 2 times a week....eat healthy and am NOT taking those drugs so I can't do any more than I already am. End of story - I also refuse to be frightened.

 
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:08 AM   #7
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

I'd like to add a caviat to this recommendation.

Another study reported this past year has shown that people who get knee and hip implants have them stay in place longer if they are treated for any signs of osteoporosis.....male or female. The implants are either free or cemented within the joint and the primary cause for revision is that they loosen, often from bone not being able to hold the implant. The forces on those implants is tremendous and the twisting and other motions, break apart the cement and break the bone away from the implant. These joint implants actually cause localized osteoporosis in the bone adjacent to the implant. Since the metals are stronger than the bone, the bone leaches out the no longer needed calcium. I've seen it in my own x-rays that are done annually on my knees.

But taking the dreaded bisphosphenates causes the bone to retain the calcium instead and I've seen a growing amount of density in my bone around my implants(since beginning Reclast 5 years ago) and after 13 years of new knees, they are tighter than ever with no signs of the implant loosening.

A similar phenomenon happens with rods, screws and plates in spine fusions. It is considered "normal" to have the fusions damage adjacent bone and cause the patient to have a fusion enlarged every few years to add the destroyed vertebrae to the fusion. But after 5 years with a 6 level fusion in my neck, I have no damage to the adjacent vertebrae and my neurosurgeon attributes this to my taking the bisphosphenates( I did 4 years of Reclast and I agree they are miserable drugs). I am now facing another fusion in my lumbar spine so I will watch my bones carefully. At present, I no longer show any signs of osteoporosis or even osteopenia so I am religiously taking Vit D and calcium along with other needed minerals to ensure my bones stay as strong as possible to withstand the screws and rods of fusions.

I agree it is over diagnosed and over treated but perhaps more attention should be given to those who are enduring surgeries that involve the permanent implantation of metal to support or replace joints...they might do much better with the treatments. As sick as Reclast made me for months afterward, it beats the rigors of repeated spine or joint replacement surgery.

Jenny

 
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:04 AM   #8
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Yesterday my physiatrist told me that women don't realize that a bone scan gives off an amount of radiation equal to 100 x-rays, yet when I researched this several articles I read stated that the radiation from DXA is low, lower than a chest x-ray, and lower than the radiation we get via living in our environment for three days, but never stated the real amount of radiation given during a scan. I was wondering if my doctor was giving me incorrect info, or if the articles are being vague about the radiation amount to hide the truth. Does anyone know if the DXA is equal in radiation to 100 x-rays?

My best friend (60 yrs. old) gets a DXA, chest x-ray, and mammogram every year and I told her she might be getting too much radiation by getting these tests annually.

 
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:21 AM   #9
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

"yet when I researched this several articles I read stated that the radiation from DXA is low, lower than a chest x-ray, and lower than the radiation we get via living in our environment for three days, but never stated the real amount of radiation given during a scan."

Your research has rewarded you well. This explains it to you much better than the "numbers" would.
If you have had any diagnostic xray, you will notice the xray tech "hides" behind a wall while exposing you. Where do they sit while doing a DEXA?

 
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacal5 View Post
Thanks rufous57, that's so sweet of you to welcome me back! As soon as Halloween comes every year, it's non-stop entertaining and shopping for me until Jan 1, with family birthdays and the holidays. This year I had the added stress of having a broken fridge from Sept. to Dec., I finally got rid of the 18 month old new fridge which gave me so many problems, it's a good thing I got the extended warranty, the warranty company bought me out of the repair cost, so I got a brand new one (a different brand) with their money a few days before Christmas.

Unfortunately, with no working fridge, I stopped juicing and doing lots of cooking because I couldn't store fresh fruits and veggies without walking up and down two flights of stairs to my basement fridge, so I ate out a lot...and gained about 9 pounds between the fridge problem and the holidays! A few weeks ago I got the stomach virus that is going around, so I haven't felt like eating very much, so maybe I dropped a few pounds (lol). With everything going on, I neglected these message boards and plenty of other things I normally do until the holidays were over.

My best friend is on PPI's off and on, because her doc doesn't want the meds to give her osteoporosis (she's been on steroids, also), but she doesn't have osteopenia or osteoporosis, so she's doing good in regard to her bones, despite being on those meds for years. I suppose if there are medication risk factors for osteoporosis the bone scan will still be paid for by the insurers, the doctors usually get their way in situations like that.

BTW, how are you feeling, have your physical problems alleviated somewhat? I hope so!

Take care...
I am so sorry to hear you had that stomach flu bug - my mom and sister had it and it was very hard on both of them! Also, sorry to hear about your refrigerator breakdown - what a terrible time for that to happen! Glad to hear it's all good now though! How is your mom doing?

I am encouraged to hear that your friend's doctor at least acknowledges the absorption problems associated with PPI's and other meds! As for me, I am doing much better than when we last were in contact. I had some kidney and liver problems but now I think that is better now, I am having follow ups with my Gastro doctor for more bloodwork in a few weeks.

 
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:28 PM   #11
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

Quote:
Originally Posted by dexatech View Post
"yet when I researched this several articles I read stated that the radiation from DXA is low, lower than a chest x-ray, and lower than the radiation we get via living in our environment for three days, but never stated the real amount of radiation given during a scan."

Your research has rewarded you well. This explains it to you much better than the "numbers" would.
If you have had any diagnostic xray, you will notice the xray tech "hides" behind a wall while exposing you. Where do they sit while doing a DEXA?
I was wondering if this was a case of not enough information to understand the dangers of the DEXA scan (yet) ?

 
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:34 AM   #12
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

I found one article that went into more detail about the radiation from DXA (apparently they don't call it DEXA any longer, they changed it to DXA), and it's a complex issue. I read that the new machines scatter radiation more than the old ones, and it depends on what shape the radiation is (ex. cone shape), to determine if the technician can stay in the testing room or not, pregnant women are advised not to stay in the room while testing is going on...etc. there are many variables. If a patient being scanned asked questions about the machine, radiation, etc. would we be told the truth???

The last time I took neck x-rays, I told the doc I wanted the least amount of x-rays possible, and when I asked about the radiation, I was told that I would get more radiation from staying in the sun a few days, than from the machine.. and then the doc said he does the x-ray "a certain way" to reduce the radiation. My friend told me her dentist told her the exact same words as my doc told me when her son got dental x-rays and she was complaining about the radiation...so all the docs must have that same pat answer ready for their patients voicing concern over radiation.

I read that green tea and lentils have properties that can carry the radiation isotopes out of your body after x-rays, so that's what I ate after my x-rays.

Last edited by jacal5; 02-04-2012 at 07:35 AM.

 
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:24 AM   #13
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Re: New Study on Bone Scans

".. and then the doc said he does the x-ray "a certain way" to reduce the radiation. My friend told me her dentist told her the exact same words as my doc told me when her son got dental x-rays and she was complaining about the radiation...so all the docs must have that same pat answer ready for their patients voicing concern over radiation."

I think you're right about that. But for those that have radiation concerns there is nothing that the doc or tech can say to calm those concerns. There always seems to be lingering doubts no matter what is said.

In tech school, all xray techs learn ALARA. Any tech doing their job is exposing their patient to the lowest dose possible. There are no "secret" ways to reduce dosage.

My personal thoughts are that those over childbearing age have so many more things to worry about that put radiation dosage at the bottom of the list.

For those of childbearing age or pregnant, it probably needs to be at the top of list.

YOU are the patient and have the right to refuse any test.

 
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