There are new guidelines in screening and treating osteoporosis. It is recommended to screen all women over 65 and all men over 70 (of course, there are no codes for men, so insurance probably will not pay). Women who are 50 and are at risk for osteoporosis should also be screened. This would include women who smoke, use alcohol excessively, have rheumatoid arthritis or have a history of chronic or recurrent steroid use or have unexplained fractures. Not everyone with decreased bone mass (osteopenia) needs to be treated. If your bone density shows decreased bone mass, it has been suggested to be rechecked in 5 years. Women with normal bone density scans can wait 15 years before being tested again. The big question is what exactly does a bone density scan measure? It appears to have limitations as it does not tell us anything about BONE STRENGTH-which is what we try to achieve when treating. Even those taking medications may not show improvement although fracture risk is diminished! Supplements like calcium and vitamin D have no EFFECTS of bone integrity after menopause! (Supplements should only be used if you have a deficiency. Also, both Magnesium and vitamin K2 are necessary to drive calcium into the bones).
Another interesting finding is that only 40% of women with hip fractures ever regain 100% strength and function back.
And now, even the benefits of weight bearing exercise is being debated.
The only way I know of to build muscle and bone strength and be able to measure it is with the bioDENSITY machine we use in our office (www.bioDensity.com). It is the only exercise program ever to be analyzed and accepted for publication in an osteoporosis journal. And the great thing about it is that it is safe, easy and only requires 5-10 minutes of your time/week.