“Marketing a disease is the best way to market a drug,” notes the well-known breast cancer expert, Dr. Susan Love. When it comes to Osteopenia and Osteoporosis, this statement rings especially true.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Osteopenia, chances are your doctor prescribed Actonel, Boniva, or Fosamax. Surprisingly, these are the exact same drugs used to “cure” Osteoporosis. You might rightly ask how come there is no distinction with the medicine and dosage prescribed for Osteopenia and for Osteoporosis. So let’s explore this “modern medicine” mystery together to finally uncover the truth.
It is important to remember that the diagnostic criteria for Osteopenia (along with Osteoporosis) was imposed in the early 90’s by the World Health Organization and quickly adopted by doctors. Using the T-Score as the ultimate ‘guiding light’, anybody with a standard deviation of -1 up to -2.50 is deemed to have Osteopenia and is hastily prescribed a drug.
Here’s how The Merck Manual, (the best-selling medical encyclopedia) defines Osteopenia: “In millions of women and men over 50, bone density (mass) is low but not low enough to be considered Osteoporosis. These people have Osteopenia (which means deficient bone). They are at risk of developing Osteoporosis as they grow older.” (The Merck Manual of Health and Aging, Section 3, Chapter 22).
By the way, Merck & Co. is the maker of the number one best-selling bone treatment drug Fosamax. Very conveniently (for Merck and other bone drug makers), patients “diagnosed” with Osteopenia are given the same treatment as those who have the full-fledged Osteoporosis verdict. This translates into billions of dollars in sales…and yet, there are no signs of an actual “disease”; only a potential for this condition to develop into Osteoporosis.
I am surprised that well-meaning health practitioners apply this concept because it simply makes no sense. Luckily, a few prominent doctors are aware of this and are trying to spread the truth.
For example, bone health expert Steve Cummings, MD, a professor at the San Francisco School of Medicine (University of California), says that there was neither real medical basis for developing a unique term such as “Osteopenia” nor to choosing the arbitrary T-score number for its diagnosis. He comments that “Osteopenia is not a disease, does not indicate a high risk of fracture in the next five to ten years, and is really almost a variant of normal. What I tell women in their 50s is that having Osteopenia means their bones are different than those of a 25-year-old and I note that there are probably many things about them that differ from when they were 25”. This is truly a breath of fresh air and gives me hope for the future!
I’d like to go one step further and present you with an analogy. For example, a slightly overweight person has a greater chance of developing diabetes than if he or she is at the ideal weight. So there is a newly defined condition you might have heard of called pre-diabetes, which is determined by a couple of blood glucose tests.
But here’s the difference between Osteopenia and pre-diabetes: there is no prescription drug treatment for a pre-diabetic. Instead, the American Diabetes Association writes as follows (http://www.diabetes.org/pre-diabetes/faq.jsp):
“Treatment consists of losing a modest amount of weight (5-10 percent of total body weight) through diet and moderate exercise, such as walking, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. A loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference.”
You see, mainstream medicine could not come up with a newly invented disease in this case (such as diabetenia) because it would be life-threatening to excessively lower a patient’s blood sugar with diabetes drugs. Otherwise – trust me on this – all pre-diabetics would be prescribed diabetes medicines.
Clearly, doctors should educate their patients on how to PREVENT osteoporosis instead of prescribing potentially toxic osteoporosis drugs. But unfortunately, most doctors have been indoctrinated to think that the best way to solve a health problem is with a “magic pill”, and often don’t bother with natural solutions. Of course there will be the obligatory calcium recommendation (typically by incorrectly suggesting an INCREASE in dairy consumption), but that’s where it all ends…
Don’t get me wrong, doctors mean well and may not be aware that they end up killing an ant with an elephant. And last but not least, doctors don’t learn about Nutrition and are completely ignorant of this extremely important aspect of natural health maintenance and healing.
Thankfully, there is a natural and drug-free way to have strong and healthy bones. I hope that you will use your knowledge and your freedom to choose wisely… and when in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or by sending me an email. I’m here to answer your questions and to listen to your comments.
Here’s to your educated decisions,