Fear of Falling: A True Story about Osteoporosis Meds

FearOfFalling

When your doctor spends more time looking at your charts, than looking at you… You might wonder about their recommendations, especially if it’s medicated prevention strategy based on a statistical probability, like the way the health care system treats osteoporosis.

For example, if your bone-density is falls within certain guidelines, your doctor will automatically prescribe medication (in order to reduce his/her liability) for the rest of your life. Theoretically this will reduce your risk ofhaving a fracture, but the meds certainly come with a host of bad side effects, which may outweigh the benefits…

Here’s a story about one woman who decided not to surrender to her doctor’s fears.

My first bone-density scan… and now I have a label: Osteoporosis.

The primary care physician kept me waiting for 40 minutes after the time of the scheduled appointment. When she came into the office she sat down in front of a monitor and said nothing while she brought up my records. Then she spun the monitor around so I could see it. Displayed on the computer screen was my risk of osteoporotic spinal fracture – 12.4% – and hip fracture – 2.4%.

I was flustered and did not think to ask exactly how this risk is calculated and what it represents.

While I accept that I am at a higher risk of fracture than a young adult woman, I still feel my risk of fracture is not great and I don’t appreciate being made to feel fearful of my risk – or at least unduly fearful. I do not want to compromise other quality of life factors because of some very small risk of spinal or hip fractures.

She went into the risk of death from hip fractures. Yes, I am aware that a hip fracture is often the beginning of a downward spiral to death but this just doesn’t seem like the place where I am now in my life, while the risk of stomach upsets, oesophagus damage, and/or general malaise from a biphosponate seems much more immediate to say nothing of an increase in a risk of fractures in the extremities from this class of drug.

Read the full story on RxISK.org: Fragile Doctors

Illustration: Fear of Falling, © 2013 created by Billiam James













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