Sometimes (well… quite often really) the medical establishment is wrong about something. In fact, they’re sometimes even dead wrong, for one reason or another. An earthshaking study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine has shown that this is the case for osteoporosis and osteopenia.
The study confirms that the primary cause of “osteoporotic fractures” isn’t osteoporosis at all; it’s falling! The increased rate of fractures in the older population has less to do with abnormally “porous” or low-density bones, and more with lifestyle choices and the general decline of motor skills and physical ability.
As a result, millions of people with normal bone density for their age are being mislead into believing that they have a disease, and that they should have the bone density of someone much younger. Why is this happening? Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but someone’s selling those medications, aren’t they?
The osteoporosis myth also means that those taking prescription medication like Fosamax in the hopes of improving their bone mineral density and preventing fractures are actually moving in a (dangerously) wrong direction.
They are taking medication for a condition which they do not have, and which might not exist at all, and exposing themselves to increased risk of harmful side-effects and reactions. This is even more troubling because physical activity that improves motor skills (like yoga and tai chi) and a bone-strengthening diet would do much more to prevent falls and fractures than current conventional treatments.
Here are the study’s three main objections:
3 Criticisms of Osteoporosis
Misattributed Cause and Effect
Though most fracture patients have fallen, they do not actually have osteoporosis. Naturally, falling is not itself a symptom. So, the establishment claims that those falling with osteoporosis have a higher likelihood of fracture. The key point, however, is that the falling is responsible for the fracture, not the osteoporosis! And if falling is the culprit, then treating the osteoporosis with (dangerous) medications makes no sense at all. What’s the cause of falling? Well, as mentioned above, falling and age-related fractures have everything to do with physical ability and the naturally thinner bones that come with age. The best treatment is preventative, and it’s light exercise and proper diet.
Screening That is Often Dead Wrong
The current strategies for predicting risk of fracture (bone densitometry, multifactorial prediction tools, etc.) consistently under perform at identifying at-risk patients. According to the study, a majority of those who sustain a fracture are not identified by the screening, and a large amount of those with an allegedly high fracture risk score will never sustain a fracture. Regardless of the FRAX score given to a patient (the score that measures risk of fracture), the study claims, the result is “almost always the same: drug therapy.” That should raise a few questions. If the system can’t tell who is truly at risk and who isn’t, maybe the system is looking for the wrong things?
Unsafe Treatments Based on Little Evidence
The study calls into question the effectiveness, safety, and evidence for current bone-targeted pharmacotherapy. What it finds is quite shocking: not only is there little to no evidence to support the effective use of these medications, but they actually put the user at significant risk of abnormal fractures down-the-line. And they increase the risk of other severe health conditions! So is there any benefit to these medications, or even the possibly meaningless label of “below-normal bone-mass density?” The study concludes with a powerful No. The medicine and the label do very little to prevent fractures from occurring if a fall takes place. The best advice, it claims, is still to “stop smoking, be active and eat well.” And when it comes to treatment, “doing less, or even nothing, is better than our contemporary practice.”