Boning Up on Health News

The uninvolved and uninformed patient is making a rare appearance in physician practices these days, with eight out of ten adults seeking health information on the Internet. They bring it to their physician appointment where it forms the basis for a lively discussion. Often the subject matter is fraught with evidence both pro and con, as in recent research pointing to possible risks for women who take calcium supplements to prevent bone loss.

The study author suggested that calcium supplements could cause more heart attacks and strokes than it prevents fractures, and advised scrutiny in their use. Supplements could cause calcium levels in the blood to spike, contributing to hardening of the arteries or even stroke.

For the millions of women who take calcium supplements, this proves as much of a conundrum as the mixed messages about hormone replacement therapy. What’s a female patient to do?

Talk to her doctor, at length, without being rushed, in an environment that promotes an open exchange of ideas. Balance the risks and benefits and determine the appropriate course of action for her. It’s just the sort of scenario that occurs regularly in a concierge medicine practice like the one offered by SignatureMD. In a personalized medicine model that emphasizes wellness and prevention, doctor and patient will discuss how much calcium she gets from her diet. Her physician will consider her family history and recent lab results, and suggest lifestyle changes as part of a comprehensive approach. It’s not that “regular” practices won’t do this, too: It’s so much easier when an appointment is 30 minutes instead of eight.