The Social Diary ~
on-line magazine covering High Society ..& more
the Social Diary Health Columnist Ruth S. Jacobowitz
Column #4, January 19th, 2006
Osteoporosis is in the news again
with the availability of a fairly new once-a-month medication,
Boniva, joining Evista, Fosamax, Actonel, Miacalcin,
estrogen and other more frequently taken pharmaceuticals as preventives
and/or treatments. Osteoporosis has become an equal gender disease.
That’s both the good news and the bad news. The good news
is that both men and women are living longer; the bad news is
that men, who get osteoporosis later in life, are living long
enough to have to be concerned about what was long-designated
a woman’s disease.
The last decade demonstrated that the
fastest growing segment of the US population is comprised of individuals
over the age of eighty-five. Again, that’s the good news.
At this rate Willard Scott on NBC’s Today
show won’t enough time or enough jelly jars to congratulate
all of us on our 100th birthdays. And what’s neither good
news or bad news, but very important news, is that we all have
to take all the precautions we can to eliminate or at least forestall
some of the problems of aging.
Preventing osteoporosis is but one of
the challenges we face, but it is one of the easiest to meet since
osteoporosis is known as the preventable disease. It is
also called the ‘silent disease’ and that’s
where we come into the picture. This is a disease that can ravage
our bones and often people are unaware that they have osteoporosis
until they break that first bone, unless they have a bone density
I believe that everyone with risk factors
and every woman after menopause should check out their bone health.
The gold standard of bone density tests is still the dual energy
X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and with the newest machines that
test can take just a few minutes. Scripps Hospital in
La Jolla has the relatively new Fan DEXA, which takes
just a minute and is completed while you are clothed. What a delight
it is to see your results—the bone strength of your spine
and hip—right then and there.
Just recently the results of new studies
about osteoporosis drugs have been reported and here again there’s
good news. We learned from British researchers in a report from
the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting
in Vienna, Austria, that Evista, a bone-protecting drug, has a
cancer-protective effect regardless of whether a woman had previously
taken hormone therapy (HT). This is reassuring for so many women
inasmuch, as compared with a placebo, Evista cut the risk of developing
invasive breast cancer by about two-thirds. The results of this
study, a large one of 7,000 women, are powerful.
Then a study reported that taking estrogen
or Fosamax, another bone-concerving drug, may also protect us
against arthritis of the knee, which is a common and disabling
disease of both women and men. With about 800 participants who
were around seventy-five years of age in this study, which was
undertaken by researchers at the University of Tennessee Health
Center, it was learned that users of Fosamax and estrogen had
fewer osteoarthritis bone abnormalities in their knees, according
to images obtained through MRIs. It was further noted that Fosamax,
but not estrogen, was associated with a reduction in knee pain.
This study was reported in an issue of the journal Arthritis &
Meanwhile, among whatever else is on our
mind, we should consider preventing osteoporosis and maintaining
bone health through performing regular weight-bearing exercise,
by taking in enough calcium—between 1200 and 1500 milligrams
per day depending on your age—along with Vitamin D, and
of course eating nutritious meals and maintaining a normal healthy
Ruth S. Jacobowitz is an award-winning medical writer,
dynamic lecturer, columnist and former vice-president of a teaching
hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. The Estrogen Answer Book,
is her fifth women’s midlife health book. She is also author
of 150 Most-Asked Questions About Menopause; 150 Most-Asked
Questions About Osteoporosis; and 150
Most-Asked Questions About Midlife Sex, Love, and Intimacy.
Her first novel, Final Acts,
a medical/legal thriller was published in September,
Ruth’s engaging and informative
lectures have taken her all over the world. She educates men and
women about how they age and empowers them to take charge of their
own health. Her books are published in 14 languages. She has been
on 48 Hours, Today, CBS This Morning, Donahue, Leeza,
America’s Talking, Food Television Network, People are Talking
as well as on local television news and talk programs
and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair,
Newsweek, and on National Public Radio.
Ruth at her website www.ruthjacobowitz.com
to New this Week........Jacobowitz
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