I love seeing dramatic test improvements and thought I would share one with you today.
I often nag women, especially over their forties, to get a bone marker test done to check for early signs of osteoporosis. This is especially important for men and women on antacids or who have stomach acid/malabsorption issues.
The bone marker test is pretty standard in some European countries but has yet to become standard here in the UK. This is a shame because it shows whether a person is breaking down bone by analysing levels of two urine markers.
On a Dexa scan, you have to have already lost a significant amount of bone for problems to show, which always strikes me as rather after the fact really. The urine markers can be used as an early warning and annual checker sign. I would rather know early and prevent bone problems, wouldn’t you? Makes much more sense.
Here is a copy of a sample report so you can see what I am wittering on about: Osteoporosis Risk Assessment Sample Report.
If the marker test comes back positive, I encourage the person to see their doctor for a bone scan. It may or may not show any bone loss, depending on how long the markers have been a problem. If not, great, you have caught it early. If positive, you can then use the marker test as a useful and relatively cheap checker.
In the case I dealt with this morning, this person has already sorted the original problem she came to me with: diabetes – we brought her HBA1c down sufficiently for her to avoid life-long meds (and are hoping we can maintain it down, of course!). At a maintenance review, I suggested a bone marker test for preventative reasons.
It came back with one of the highest scores I have seen. Both urine markers were pretty high at 66.3 and 18.9. Interestingly, in this case, the GP refused a Dexa scan. We decided to do a Vitamin D test and I suggested a hormone test via the GP too in case of a link with low oestrogen.
The Vitamin D test came back pretty low. So, we started a supplement programme to increase Vitamin D levels and gave a special bone supplement with co-factors.
Today, I got the re-test results back and the scores are now 27 and 6.
Needless to say, we are both pretty pleased with that. Now, we need to recheck the Vit D levels and review the supplement protocol.
Anyway, hope that was interesting for you. It is certainly not unusual to see the markers high, nor to be able to bring them down, but this is such an easy preventative health measure you can take, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to encourage you again!
For more on Osteoporosis generally, and particularly about why treatment is not all about calcium, check the Osteoporosis factsheet.