Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dexa Scans have No Predictive Value

I have a basically sane General Practitioner.  She understands why I refuse meds to lower my cholesterol or reduce the chance of getting cancer in my other breast by 2%.

But she sent me for a Dexa Scan.

At the Outpatient Imaging center, the technician felt obliged to give me a sell job on the wonderfulness of the dexa scan.  She insisted that the doctors who looked at the scan could tell me the likelihood of my breaking a bone within the next 10 years.  They could even tell which bone.  I told her that people who have dense bones can still have brittle bones that break.  She told me that I’m saying all the books are wrong.

I agreed – the books are wrong if they say that low density bones are the only ones that break.

The more she hyped the value of this scan the less I thought she was telling the truth.

When I got home, I surfed the web.
Here’s the basic data:  http://www.bmj.com/content/315/7102/221   Age and family history are much better indicators of likelihood of breaking a bone than bone density. This only refers to minor falls – not accidents.

The only broken bone I’ve ever had was caused by a 2-ton car that hit me while I was riding my bike. My parents are alive in their 90's and they’ve never had broken bones.  My doctor had me exposed to unnecessary x-rays.  And she spent unnecessary insurance money.

A dexa scan is not a preventive or a treatment. It is not a predictive tool.  It is only used to sell unnecessary drugs.

There are drugs that help make bones stronger, by improving the crystalline structure of the bones themselves. They are non-prescription vitamins K2 and D3.  These vitamins also help prevent arterial plaque because the calcium that could form dangerous plaque gets used to build strong bones instead.

I sent all this information to my basically sane GP.  I hope she stops prescribing this useless test.


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