In Australia you have to meet certain requirements or the cost of the test will not be met by Medicare.
I fortunately (questionable) met the criteria due to having been on heavy steroid drugs for a period of time. Then, of course – as they discovered (according to WHO standards) I had Osteopenia (the beginnings of osteoporosis), which now means I will continually be eligible for ongoing bone density monitoring.
The G.P. who looked at my results said I had two years in which to try in improve my bone density by increasing my calcium intake and ensuring adequate Vitamin D, or I would need to begin taking a drug (Bisphosphonate) for the rest of my life – which I was assured would be of great benefit to me in preventing (hopefully) bone fractures.
I love research, so this gave me a great opportunity to learn about bone density, the levels which are considered healthy and unhealthy, who actually sets these levels and consequences of treatments with drugs versus natural options. Such fun!
So the WHO (World Health Organisation) are the ones who set the numbers/standards for this new disease. Actually it seems they were redefining the normal aging process into a disease!
The present-day definitions of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis were arbitrarily conceived by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early 90’s, and then projected upon millions of women’s bodies seemingly in order to convince them they had a drug-treatable, though symptomless, disease. (link)
Without wishing to get too technical with numbers etc (you can read those here) it would be fair to say that if you have a bone density scan which shows you have a deviation (outside of ) from the numbers they have arbitrarily set – then you have either the beginnings of osteoporosis (osteopenia) or full-blown osteoporosis – and it just so happens they have a drug to treat it!
I needed to know more about bones – the skeletal structure which keeps us upright and mobile. Without bragging I do not believe I have ever suffered from a broken bone in my 59 years on earth. I know bones break, sometimes by accident and injury and other times they simply ‘snap’ because of various disease processes. So what makes them strong and why do they become weak?
Firstly it is important that you understand I am not belittling osteoporosis which is a real and nasty disease (mostly but not entirely) of the aged. It seems women are more prone to it than men.
Healthy bones maintain their strength from a continual process of bone breakdown and bone rebuilding. Osteoclasts are the cells that break down your bone, and osteoblasts are the cells that rebuild it. Let’s call this the bone matrix.
The bone matrix, just like every other system in the human body requires nourishment to ensure it performs optimally. Feeding it the correct mix of elements which encourage it to be strong and flexible – to break down the old dying cells and rebuild the new cellular structure to ensure strong healthy bones is paramount. Sadly as we age this necessary nutritional mix does not always arrive at its destination (the bone matrix) and the rebuilding of the bone structure with the osteoblasts does not take place – Osteoporosis is the result.
Osteopenia on the other hand is simply a made up word! It is mistakenly understood by doctors and patients alike to mean (possibly) the first stages of Osteoporosis. This is incorrect. It is wrong. It is fraudulent and it is also a huge money spinner for the pharmaceutical industry. Now why does that not surprise me!
Read for yourself how Osteoporosis and Osteopenia got categorized and named. There was not much science involved in it really!
….. over a two or three-day period the experts in the room went back and forth and back and forth, looking at research and trying to decide precisely where on a graph of diminishing bone density to draw a line.
“Ultimately it was just a matter of, ‘Well … it has to be drawn somewhere,’ ” Tosteson says. “And as I recall, it was very hot in the meeting room, and people were in shirt sleeves and, you know, it was time to kind of move on, if you will. And, I can’t quite frankly remember who it was who stood up and drew the picture and said, ‘Well, let’s just do this.’ ”
So there in the hotel room someone literally stood up, drew a line through a graph depicting diminishing bone density and decreed: Every woman on one side of this line has a disease.
Then a new question arose: How do you categorize the women who are just on the other side of that line?
To address this issue, Tosteson says, the experts — more or less off the cuff — decided to use the term osteopenia. Tosteson says they created the category mostly because they thought it might be useful for public health researchers who like clear categories for their studies. They never imagined, she says, that people would come to think of osteopenia as a disease in itself to be treated.