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there is quite a list of risk factors for osteoporosis - certain conditions such as rheumatiod arthritis, gastric problems (malabsorption, coeliac disease, imflammatory bowel disease), early menopause, thyroid problems, hypogonadism, liver disease. Also, if you're taking certain medications, or if you have had a low trauma fracture you should be sent for a DEXA scan. I have seen people who have a strong family history getting referred.
If they do a scan and find osteopenia/osteoporosis, you would either be prescribed medication or given dietary advice, and you should have a rescan after 2/3 years to see if that is effective. I certainly wouldn't worry about it being too late at 50 - I see patients who are much older, who are treated and then show improvement at the next scan.
Discuss it with your GP, but bear in mind that the people you know will have had some risk factor in order to justify the exposure to X-ray that you may not know about (this is why I don't necessarily agree with being able to just pay and have private scans done for no real good reason, as it's a procedure involving radiation after all, but I digress!!)
Of your list, ipswich, maybe just liver disease as I drink like a fish! No, actually, I don't, not quite like a fish , and no, I don't have liver disease afaik...
I think a DEXA scan give you a dose of about a 1/10 of that of a chest xray? Is that right? I ought to bloody well know, I am a radiographer but I do MRI. I could get a 'sneaky' DEXA but I'd rather get one for a reasonable reason!
well, alcohol intake of more than 3 units a day would also be a reason to refer you're right the dose is pretty low compared to chest x-ray, i have a bit of a bee in my bonnet regarding exposure, and frankly it horrifies me that in america you can just rock up to a clinic, pay and get a ct and nobody monitors your exposure. i would have a word with the gp - I have seen requests approved for little more reason that for patient reassurance, so that in itself is worth something
That is interesting about steroids may thin bones in some people. I did ask my GP for a the lowest dose possible of Anabolic steroids as my muscles have wasted with age < I knew he'd say NO, but no harm in asking!>. He did say they could thin my bones and am already supposedly near the bottom of the scale after having the heel measurement test. A blood test just 2 years ago showed too little calcium. So am now on calcium+vitD supplements.
My DD did have a DEXA scan measured on the hip bones due to perimenopause and is now also on the same pills.
She does have private insurance paid by her employer.
Hi Digerd. After the DEXA scan I had a routine set of blood tests that showed my calcium was high, then a referral to a Orthopaedic Surgeon wo did more bllod tests and found my PTH (Parathyroid Hormone) was sky high. Put together this indicates Primary Hyperparathyroidism and I'm waiting for an op to correct it.
Loads of symptoms, the main ones for me are leg pains (joint and muscle) indigestion, headaches, weight gain, itching.
At 50 you have not reached the stage where you can do nothing about it. there is lots you can do re diet and exercise and supps, if you find you have low bone density. Obvs better to prevent, but never too late to sort.
I honestly thought you did the vast majority of the 'useful' calcium laying down in your teens, tbh! Which is why, among the people I know who've come in as 'low', 2 were definitely by their own admission, borderline (and actual) anorexics as teenagers.
erebus, yes, I think it's true to a point about laying it down early. BUT you need to get it detected and dealt with as an 'older' person . Being careful with diet, alcohol intake, exercise, etc can stop it getting worse too (and help in lots of other was too, allegedly!)