The Skeleton in Your Closet - Osteoporosis

Evidence indicates that better understanding bone health can predict risk of the disease that causes a fracture every three seconds

Adriana* recognized the warning signs. Her mother, an active woman in good health, broke her hip at age 82. After the fracture, she watched her mother’s life change dramatically. It seemed as though the fracture triggered a cascade of depression and low mobility. Ultimately, she suffered a fatal stroke at 84. Determined to change her lifestyle to avoid mother’s fate, Adriana set out to learn as much as she could about bone health. Her search led her to Dr. Bruno Muzzi Camargos, Technical Director at Densimater and physician at Rede Mater Dei de Saúde in Brazil. [caption id="attachment_10995" align="alignnone" width="690"] Patient’s first scan.[/caption] Dr. Bruno is a passionate advocate for bone health. “The visible or clinical risk factors of age, bone structure, weight, smoking, and ethnicity, among others, are not always accurate measures of osteoporosis risk,” he says. “The only way to truly determine the risk is through a bone mineral densitometry (BMD) scan to accurately measure the amount of calcium and other minerals present in the bone.” [caption id="attachment_11019" align="alignright" width="220"] Dr. Bruno Muzzi Camargos[/caption] Dr. Bruno advised Adriana to have a Dual Energy X-ray (DXA) scan. The results indicated osteoporosis and she needed to take action to avoid finding herself with the same fracture vulnerability as her mother. Understanding her bone mass was the first step. Armed with her personalized information, Dr. Bruno could prescribe treatment: bisphosphonate, combined with calcium and vitamin D supplements. The next steps were to re-measure and monitor progress. “Do you judge a book by its cover? Do you assume you are healthy until you are not? To be precise, you must measure and quantify the fracture risk, through DXA” Dr. Bruno says. “Like cholesterol predicts cardiovascular health, bone mineral densitometry predicts bone health.” Adriana returned the following year to have a follow-up DXA scan. Her BMD showed a 9% increase, yet still indicates osteoporosis as defined by international guidelines. If Adriana maintains her prescribed treatment, Dr. Bruno expects her to be move from the diagnostic category of Osteoporosis to Osteopenia, meaning she is less prone to fragility fractures. Osteoporosis is the cause of 8.9 million + fractures each year. That’s a fracture every three seconds.[¹] [caption id="attachment_10996" align="alignnone" width="690"] Patient’s second scan.[/caption] Dr. Bruno cites the general guidance to begin bone mineral densitometry beginning at age 50, yet advises that individuals should have more awareness about bone health and peak bone mass. “Prevention and care for bone health is key. We must shift attention from treating bone sickness in order to maintain bone health,” he says. “Don’t guess. Don’t wait. Measure and protect your bone mass.”     A complete list of DXA indications can be assessed at: [¹] International Osteoporosis Foundation *For privacy, the patient’s name has been changed.