Are you at risk of osteoporosis? As 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis, there’s a high chance you may be.
Am I at risk of osteoporosis?
Bone density testing is especially recommended if you:
- Are a tall or thin woman who is post-menopausal
- Are a woman who has had an early menopause, or you've had your ovaries removed at a young age (before 45) and haven't had hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- You’ve suffered an eating disorder
- Are a man with clinical conditions such as liver disease, associated with bone loss.
- Use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications or breast or prostate cancer treatments.
- Have excessive alcohol intake
- Have indulged in recreational drug use
- Are losing height or developing a stoop
- Have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism.
- Have a parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism.
- Have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
- Have had x-ray evidence of osteoporosis or a vertebral fracture.
- You have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 21
- Are a man or a woman with a condition that leads to low bone density, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Are a woman who has large gaps between periods (more than a year)
- Are a man or a woman taking oral glucocorticoids for three months or more – glucocorticoids are used to help treat inflammation, but can also cause weakened bones
- Have a family history of osteoporosis or minor injury fracture.
The good news is, if you can find out your exact risk, you can take pre-emptive action against osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis refers to a thinning of the bones which makes them more vulnerable to a fracture. As part of natural ageing after the age of 35, bone loss increases very gradually.
However, bone loss becomes more rapid as we age, especially in women for several years following the menopause and can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.
You can prevent osteoporosis
According to Professor David Reid of Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic, osteoporosis can be stopped in its tracks – providing you know if you’re at risk.
Professor Reid says:
There are lifestyle changes you can make – weight bearing exercise and taking vitamin D, For those who have already developed osteoporosis, doctors can also prescribe drugs which reduce the rate of bone breakdown (bone resorption) significantly and reduce the likelihood of fractures in the spine, at the hip and for many drugs at other non-spine sites.
The first thing you need to do is to discover whether you are at risk of osteoporosis. This is done by using a DEXA scan. DEXA, also referred to as DXA – is short for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry are safe, accurate, painless and non-invasive scan which can give precise risk factors for osteoporosis.
How does a DEXA scan work?
Radiation (X-rays) go through your body during the DEXA scan. Some of the radiation is taken in by the bone and soft tissue and some travels through your body.
The DEXA scanner works out how much radiation is being passed through your bones by directing X-ray energy through the bone at a very fast rate, alternating from two different sources.
This allows the scanner to work out your bone density. It can also calculate how this measurement compares to other people who are the same age and sex, giving a good indication as to whether you’re at risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia (when the bone thins - often a precursor to osteoporosis).
The DEXA test can also assess an individual's risk for developing fractures. The risk of fracture is affected by age, body weight, history of prior fracture, family history of osteoporotic fractures and life style issues such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These factors are taken into consideration when deciding if a patient needs therapy.
Book a DEXA
Booking a DEXA scan in London
A DEXA scan is considered safe and risk-free, you can also self-refer. You can book a DEXA scan yourself at Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic. Call 0203 8839525 or email [email protected]
Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic, 25 Harley Street, London, W1G 9QW
The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods ceaseFull medical glossary
A condition in which the protein and mineral content of bone tissue is reduced, but less severely than in osteoporosis.Full medical glossary