Guests: Dr. Susan Bukata and Meredith Vieira
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guests Bio: Meredith Vieira is a 14-time Emmy Award-winning host, executive producer and anchor. She served as executive producer on the award-winning documentary “TOWER.” She hosted and served as executive producer on her own nationally syndicated daytime talk show, titled “The Meredith Vieira Show.” Previously, she received critical acclaim for her hosting of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “The Today Show,” and “The View.” Vieira founded and is CEO of Meredith Vieira Productions, which develops and produces film, television, and theatre.
Dr. Susan V. Bukata, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon at UCLA Health, Department of Orthopaedics. She is a member of the University of California, Los Angeles faculty with a significant research interest in bone fragility and bone healing. Prior to joining the UCLA Orthopaedic Center faculty, Dr. Bukata spent eight years on faculty at the University of Rochester, where she helped develop and implement the Geriatric Fracture treatment algorithm now followed around the world. She is a member of the National Osteoporosis Foundation Board of Trustees.
Segment Overview: Dr. Susan Bukata, MD and journalist Meredith Vieira discuss the connection between fractures and postmenopausal osteoporosis and the current treatment options. Learn more at www.BoneNews.com
TRANSCRIPT – Osteoperosis
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program. Thank you so much for joining us today. I’m your host here on Health Professional Radio, Neal Howard. Our guest today is Dr. Susan Bukata and Emmy award-winning television host and journalist Meredith Vieira. They’re both joining us here on the program to talk about the connection between fractures and postmenopausal osteoporosis and some of the current treatment options that are available. Welcome to the program both of you. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Dr. Susan Bukata: Thank you for having us.
N: Great. Now Dr. Bukata, give us a bit of background about yourself and and tell us what osteoporosis is and who are the women that are most at risk?
B: I’m an orthopedic surgeon practicing at UCLA and I see patients every single day who have osteoporosis. Well osteoporosis is a disease where your bones are not as strong and it’s much easier to fracture them. For women over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis, yet only 2 out of 10 will get treatment for osteoporosis after the fracture. And we know that once you’ve fractured, you are much more likely to get additional fracture. So we’re really missing the boat in treating women and getting them protected for future fractures.
N: Now Meredith, why are you with us today talking about osteoporosis? What’s your connection?
Meredith Vieira: Well I have a personal connection. My mom as she grew older began to develop I guess is referred to it as a Dowager’s hump. And I just thought it was part of the natural ageing process. I really didn’t know about osteoporosis. Then she took a couple of falls from a standing position and had fractures and she just talked it up to being a cause. Again, not realizing that fracture was the first sign of osteoporosis. And again, I didn’t know that as well. When I was 50, I went to my doctor for just a general check up and he was checking my medical history and family history and he said, “Gee you know, I think you need a bone density test. I’d like to do that. “. And he did and it turned out I had osteopenia. I have osteopenia which means my bone density is less than it should be. And that was a wake-up call to me, to pay attention to my bones and the health of my bones. And when I learned the statistics that Dr. Bukata just mentioned about 50% of postmenopausal women suffering a fracture due to osteoporosis, I thought, “’My goodness! We need a real wake-up call here.”, because I don’t think most women are aware of that or of the fact that once you do have a break that more women end up in the hospital for that than they do for heart attack, strokes or cancer. So it’s really a significant number and I figured if I could help Radius Health spread the word here because of my personal connection I figured, why not?
N: Now, these aren’t falls, these severe falls. This is something that a woman that doesn’t have this condition or a younger woman would just get up and keep going on about our business, is that correct and putting it into perspective for our listeners?
B: That’s absolutely right. And when you have a fall, always feel that it’s severe for you, but it’s really a fall from standing height or less. And when you hit the ground, no matter what type of ground it is, you suffer this fracture. And for the patient, it’s a severe injury but really when we talk about, this is not falling off a roof, it’s not getting hit by a car. It’s something that is just a standard slip and fall and in younger patients who have stronger bones, they wouldn’t have gotten the fracture.
N: Now in your experience, why is it that such a small percentage of women who suffer these fractures get treatment for them based on the osteoporosis connection?
B: Well people aren’t making the connection between osteoporosis and the fracture. Patients aren’t making the connection because I think, “Well I fell really hard onto the sidewalk and so it can’t be osteoporosis.”. People think of osteoporosis as an old person’s disease, people in their 80s, in their 90’s or what they picture. I regularly have patients who break their hip when they’re 80 years old and they say, “Oh, that’s an old lady’s disease.”, and you have to say, “Look, you know this is something that affects a huge portion of the population.”. Anybody over age 50 has to really think about that as a woman, a postmenopausal woman. And also doctors are focused on why the patient fell and getting the orthopedic surgeon is treating the fracture and the medicine doctors trying to figure out why the patient fell, that everybody’s circling the fact that they have osteoporosis and not necessarily having the conversation connecting the two together.
N: Meredith, talk about this initiative The Bone News program, you’re well-versed in getting the word out as far as being a journalist. How is this program getting the word out about this connection between osteoporosis and these fractures?
M: Well, it’s a great site that you can go to that as all the information you need to educate yourself about connection between osteoporosis and fractures, about bone health in general, about what you can do to take care of your bones and about some of the treatments that are out there now to help you if you do have osteoporosis. In my mom’s case, there was nothing, there really wasn’t. But they’ve made tremendous strides and all that Dr. Bukata speak to that. I just want women to know that like Dr. Bukata said there is a sort of a stigma about osteoporosis. It’s an old person’s disease. Nobody likes to think about getting old. But turn it around the other way, we’re all going to age and why not age as well as we possibly can and that starts with your structure, your bones because if they weaken, then everything else falls apart.
N: Well said, well said. Dr. Bukata, what are some of the treatment options that are available for women?
B: Well fortunately now as Meredith said, there are many treatments for osteoporosis that can help to prevent fractures including one that was just approved by the FDA, Tymlos. So Tymlos is an anabolic and anabolics have been shown to help build bone to actually have stimulate your body to make new bone. Women need to talk to their doctor about what treatment is right for them but there are many treatments that can help to prevent fracture. Every patient needs to talk to their doctor about the disease and what they choose to be treated with. This medication Tymlos has been associated with bone cancer but it’s unknown if it will cause it in people and some women who took the drug experienced some dizziness or some increases in your calcium and so it’s important for them to talk to their doctor and decide if this is the right treatment for them. Also, all of the medications including Tymlos can only be taken for a certain period of time and in this case, it’s up to two years. So you need to discuss with your doctor what is the right choice for you. But fortunately, there many choices that are now available that can help us to prevent fracture.
M: And I would also say. Talk to your friends and talk to your doctors. Get a conversation going because if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, you bring it up. A lot of doctors don’t bother to bring this up.
N: So do you think that they’re not bothering to bring it up because they lack awareness?
B: Well, it’s not something that is at the top of the list when people go into the office. They think about diabetes. They think about heart disease. They think about cancer, yet osteoporosis affects a much larger population and it’s something that we need to bring into the vocabulary both for patients and for physicians as this is a part of helping people to age well. So we need to have these conversations.
N: What about some of these new drugs like Tymlos, the one you just mentioned in conjunction with hormone therapy that a woman may be undergoing at the time?
B: So right now, there hasn’t been any direct investigation of that combination therapy. So again, it’s something you have to speak with your doctor about to understand what choices might be right for you and what evidence is out there for you to make some of these choices, but a lot of that has to be made on a patient by patient basis with your doctor.
N: Now Meredith, in wrapping up I heard you mentioned a website a moment ago that’s dealing with the the Bone News program, what is that website again?
M: It’s bonenews.com. And it is clearing out for all things about your bone health exactly.
N: Well, I thank both of you for coming in and speaking with us today Dr. Susan Bukata and Meredith Vieira.
B: Thank you very much.
M: Thank you.
N: Transcripts and audio of the program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au. Be sure and visit our affiliates page at those platforms and you can download the podcast on iTunes, listen in and download at SoundCloud as well.