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82 Year Old Mother With Severe Osteoporosis & Dr. Says There is No Treatment
Trainwreck posted:
Hello Everyone,
I am very distressed today after my poor mother was complaining of a hurt wrist, which was swollen. She has dementia, which doesnt help, so we don't know what happened. The doctor says she has severe osteoporosis. He said she had a fracture in her wrist, and he put pressure on the wrist and she winced in pain. Since the fracture was so small, he said he wouldn't cast it, but just put a velcro wrap on, which I'm sure mother will rip off.
In the meantime, I asked him what kind of treatment she could get to advert further problems. He said there was nothing we could do. He said that all bone is developed by the early 20's, and if you don't get it by then, then there is nothing you can do. I asked about Boniva and Fosamax, and he said that there were too many side effects. I asked if she should use a walker, and he said that wouldn't help. It is breaking my heart to see my mother deteriorate like this with no treatment plan.
I was diagnosed with osteopenia, and one doctor put me on Boniva, and I had NO side effects. However, another doctor took me off it, and just said to take calcium pills. Now, I wonder even why, since this doctor said there is nothing you can do to decrease your risk of osteoporosis. He didn't even offer a bone density test. His attitude was more like, what do you expect at 82??
bonebabe responded:
Oh, Wow! How horrible. Do Not go back to this doctor. Was he an orthopedist? They don't usually treat osteoporosis patients because people see them for an injury and they don't follow patients once the injury is healed.

Of course your mother should have a walked. The biggest cause of fractures is falling and one of the National Patient Safety Goals for this year (and last) is fall prevention. If she has problems walking or with balance, get a walker.

As for medication, Forteo is what she should try. It is made from the parathyroid hormone and is the only medication that grows new bone. You use it for 2 years, then strengthen the new bone with a drug like Boniva.

It is important your mom (and you) consume 1200 mg of calcium and 1000 IU of Vit D each day. No med will work if you don't.

Osteopenia is not a diagnosis. It is a condition. It means low bone density. However, more people with osteopenia fracture than do people with osteoporosis. If you have low bone density and another risk for fracture (no estrogen, a prior fracture, family history of osteoporosis or fracture in a first degree relative, or use of any bone depleting medication) you would benefit from an osteo med. The side effects of a hip or vertebral fracture are waaaay more serious than any side effect of the osteo meds. If people didn't take medications because of side effects, our hospitals would be full all the time and we'd have some pretty sick people.

As for the bone density test, with dementia and 82 years old, it would be good to get a baseline in order to measure her response to a medication (Forteo.) She has one now, gets a measurable result, takes the Forteo for 2 years, then has another one at the same place. Very important that it be done at the same facility. Those results will then be compared to the one she had two years prior. That's how the effectiveness of a medication is measured.

In the meantime, go to the NOF website ( ) for a lot more information and a good Q & A section.
Trainwreck replied to bonebabe's response:
Thank you so much. He is an orthopedic "sports medicine" doctor. I'm sure osteoporosis is not his main concern. He was so apathetic, that I left there holding back tears. Poor mom doesn't even know what is going on, and this doctor is telling me how he gives his young daughters calcium. What does he know of the demise of the elderly. Hip fractures are a huge cause of death in the elderly, and I can't imagine another side effect as bad...Also to not even TRY. I have been upset all weekend.
Thank you for your encouragement.
bonebabe replied to Trainwreck's response:
Yes, he's not the kind of doctor you need. Orthos really don't get involved with osteoporosis. Try for an internist, a rheumatologist or better, a doctor or PA or FNP who specializes in geriatric care. The nurses are called Adult Nurse Practicioners and have the initials RN, ANP after their names. Often work with an internal medicine group.
Trainwreck replied to bonebabe's response:
Thank you for your kind response. You are probably correct, in that it is not his field of expertise, and he is working with young people in sports medicine, and has little advice for the elderly. I see other ederly people getting treatment. I will just have to find the right doctor.
Thanks again!

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For more information, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website