With each birthday you know just how old you are, but when it come to your bones it’s a different matter. Depending on the state of your health, your bones could be considerably older than the date on your birth certificate.
Worried? You should consider booking in for a DEXA bone scan.
Loss of bone density
As we grow older our bones lose some of their density and become more fragile – it’s a normal part of ageing. However, in some people this loss of density happens more quickly than is usual. This can cause a condition called osteoporosis, where your bones become thinner and considerably weaker than they should be. This means that they are at greater risk of being fractured or breaking. This is most common in older people, but it’s a problem that can affect anyone.
Millions risking bone breakage
More than three million people in the UK have osteoporosis, and so are at increased risk of having a bone fracture.
The only way to know your bone age for certain is by having a DEXA scan. DEXA (or DXA) stands for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Having a DEXA scan is quick and painless and can show if you have low bone mineral density, and diagnose whether you may develop osteoporosis, or have it already.
DEXA scanners have far lower radiation exposure than a CT scan, or an X-ray. In fact they are safe to use for general screening. CT scans are only usually recommended when doctors are checking for something specific in the human body.
Waiting list for DEXA
DEXA scans are available through the NHS. However, waiting for an NHS DEXA scan could take some time. And you may only be put on the waiting list if your doctor feels that you’re at high risk of having a fractured bone, or you have already had a bone fracture following a minor bump or fall.
You don’t have to wait. Book a private DEXA scan and not only will you have a shorter wait, you’ll also be able to find out more about the condition of your bones.
The advantages of having a private DEXA scan is that you don’t have to wait very long to have it carried out. The results of the scan will show your specialist your true bone age, and they will be able to give you advice on what you need to do to avoid osteoporosis. This is especially important if your scan shows that you have osteopenia, a condition where your bones have started to become thin. This often precedes osteoporosis. By picking a DEXA with advanced features, you can also find out your fat composition, and whether you have visceral fat, which puts you at risk of diabetes, heart disease and is associated with shortened life expectancy.
Top rheumatology specialist
Top rheumatology specialist, and internationally acknowledged expert in DEXAs Professor David Reid is based at Twenty-five Harley Street day clinic, has high spec DEXAs with advanced diagnostic features. He says ‘Knowing your risk of osteoporosis means that you can start getting the right treatment, and start improving your bone health as soon as possible. By changing your lifestyle – taking more exercise for instance, and taking prescribed medication along with supplements – and getting the correct treatment, it’s possible to reduce your risk by up to 70%.’
How much is a DEXA scan?
Remember to check first with your health insurance company to see whether your insurance covers you for a DEXA scan. You can also choose to self-refer. The cost of a DEXA (DXA) scan at 25 Harley Street is £270, and includes a report covering your bone health now, and looking forward over the next ten years, by Professor Reid himself.
Telephone: 0203 8839525
A condition in which the protein and mineral content of bone tissue is reduced, but less severely than in osteoporosis.Full medical glossary