by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
Aggressive screening and treatment for osteoporosis could prevent hip fractures.
About 325,000 Americans over the age of 65 will break their hip this year. A minimum of 25% of those with hip fractures will need assistance walking after the fracture, 25% will end up in a nursing home and 25% or more will die within the coming year due to complications directly attributable to the hip fracture. 17% of women and 30% of men who suffer with a hip fracture die within the first year following a hip fracture.
Dr Richard Dell states that if the US health care system “started to take osteoporosis seriously” it could slash the incidence of hip fracture by 25%; that’s a lot of saved lives. Dr Dell is an orthopedic surgeon with Kaiser Southern California, an HMO with around 3.1 million members. Dr Dell recently described the HMO’s Healthy Bones Program initiated to identify patients at risk of bone facture and to make sure they also received adequate treatment. The program reduced hip fracture incidence in participants by an average of 37.2%.
The screening teams lead by orthopedic surgeons identified about 620,000 HMO participants who were at risk of developing brittle bones (osteoporosis). These included women over 65, men over 70, anyone taking drugs that worsen bone loss, and anyone over 50 who recently had a fragility fracture. They screened the bones of all at risk with a DEXA scan X-ray. Those that required it were treated with medication and educated about osteoporosis and the plan worked. The report appears in the early online ahead of print version of the November 3rd, 2008 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Note; over one-third of Americans over the age of 65 (about 12 million people) will fall this year and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older Americans. A percentage of this figure is tied into hip fractures. In a future email we will discuss reducing the risk of falling.
Nutrients for bone health
Health professionals agree that adequate levels of Vitamin D and Calcium are necessary for building strong bones. But the amount of Vitamin D thought necessary is now recognized as being sorely deficient. Our formula supplies an adequate level of the most active form of Vitamin D (D3) along with the most absorbable form of Calcium (as Calcium Citrate) to improve the strengthening of bone.
Building bone requires the activity of osteocalcin and osteocalcin is a protein that places calcium squarely within the bone. Vitamin K acts as an essential binding agent in osteocalcin allowing the fusing of calcium into the bone. Various studies show that Vitamin K2 and K1 are necessary for building bone in the hip and the spine.
Strontium is a mineral just like Calcium or Phosphorus and as it turns out Strontium has a number of activities for building strong bone. Large studies using Strontium in thousands of patients show impressive results for improving the health of the spine, hips, wrists, and other bones and the evidence shows dramatic benefits within the first year. Strontium has two actions; slowing the breakdown of bone (this is what drugs do) while improving the rate at which bone is rebuilt (this is what drugs do not do). Because of the dual activity and because Strontium is helpful in all age groups, even in those over 80, Strontium is a smart adjunct to all bone building programs. We offer Strontium as Strontium Citrate because this offers good absorption.