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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Has anyone had a bone density scan - is it worth it?

(59 Posts)
Katymac Sat 12-Nov-16 11:15:36

This is the blurb.....

"uses Quantative Ultrasound (QUS) to show bone density at the heel which is a good indicator of general bone density in the body.

The National Osteoporosis Society says that 'QUS has been demonstrated to show predictive value for any fracture in women in their peri-menopausal years and of Colles fracture in women in their early post-menopausal years'.

An ultrasound scan is safe and painless; both heels will be scanned.

You will be provided with a full report of your results showing your T-score and Z-score together with any recommendations appropriate for you. Your report also includes a projection of likely future bone density.

BoneCheck will refer you to your GP for a full body DXA scan if your results indicate low scores."

Is it worth having it's £50?

Blueberry234 Sat 12-Nov-16 11:17:36

I met the criteria for a DEXA and it picked up osteoporosis I am 37 and it has given me the impetus to look at my diet and supplements

Blueberry234 Sat 12-Nov-16 11:17:49

So in other words, yes

PinkSwimGoggles Sat 12-Nov-16 11:20:43

yes
I had 2 broken bones within one year, one of which a broken rib from a coughing fit.
I was in my mid thirties.
got a load of diet and supplement advice and had no breaks since.

dancemom Sat 12-Nov-16 11:33:38

I had it done but they scanned my hip, not my heels

Katymac Sat 12-Nov-16 11:35:12

My diet is awful & I do supplement with Calcium but I suppose it would be useful to know if it's working....

I am older than both of you!!

PollyPerky Sun 13-Nov-16 13:16:09

TBH I always assumed those heel scans were a waste of money. I'm surprised the NOS is saying they are ok.

Is the blurb you refer to actually written by the NOS ( and can you link please) or is it an ad by BoneCheck that's popping up on their site?

I have had around 5 DEXA scans in my life since my late 40s. I found out I almost had osteoporosis at the first scan. Thankfully I've been able to stop the rot with diet, exercises, supplements and latterly HRT though the HRT is not prescribed for my bones.

A full DEXA scan shows the bone density in your hips and spine- the areas most likely to be affected. The cost is a lot more than £50- I pay around £200, every 3 years (privately.)

Taking calcium is a waste of time. You need to eat the right foods, have Vit D and do weight bearing exercises. Have a google and read the latest research that shows it can cause more harm than good (heart issues) in people who otherwise have a healthy diet. If you have risk factors, go to your GP for advice, or have a proper bone scan and see how you are.

Aquamarine70 Sun 13-Nov-16 13:49:49

I have a bone scan every 2 years as I have osteoporosis causedby having anorexia. I am in Australia & our healthcare service is so good. I don't haveto pay.I have my hip & forearm scanned. I havent heard of a heel scan.
I take calcium & vit D & every 6 mths I have a Prolia injection. It costs me $300 as it has to be a private prescription as I don't qualify to get it cheaper on our Medicare as I am too young & haven't had a hip fracture.

NicknameUsed Sun 13-Nov-16 13:50:03

"My diet is awful"

What can you do to improve it? Are there other health issues/allergies at play here?

RandomMess Sun 13-Nov-16 13:56:29

My Mum has osteoporosis and did her Mum so I got referred for scanning. Fine so far though.

Thatwaslulu Sun 13-Nov-16 14:01:51

My mum had it done - she has osteoporosis and found it was very informative. However I am slightly worried that it could be hereditary and my sister and I may be at risk - we already inherited PCOS, dodgy bladders and early grey hair!

Destinysdaughter Sun 13-Nov-16 14:05:52

So what can you do re diet and supplements to improve the bone density? And does HRT help?

ipswichwitch Sun 13-Nov-16 14:14:09

The heel ultrasound is not the "gold standard" method for measuring bone density. DEXA scans are much better, and is basically a quick x-Ray of spine and hip.

Have you asked your gp to refer you for a DEXA scan? Do you have any risk factors for osteoporosis, other than poor diet (which may be a risk factor all on its own)?

Before spending money on an ultrasound I'd see the gp, ask for a DEXA scan. The ultrasound is really only worth ruling you out of having osteoporosis, since although there is a correlation between the two different scans, if ultrasound dos show some degree of bone thinning you'd have to have a DEXA scan anyway to confirm diagnosis, before starting any treatment.

PollyPerky Sun 13-Nov-16 14:37:52

Osteoporosis is hereditary in some people.
Risk factors are low body weight, low calcium intake, smoking, poor diet ( few fruits and veg) sedentary, early menopause, irregular periods over a lifetime.

(I only had low body weight- which is classed as under 9st- and I'm not anorexic- just petite.)

Diet- eat calcium rich foods- easily google-able or see the NOS website. Recommended intake it 800mgs- 1gm daily, plus vitamin D.

Exercise- not swimming but weight bearing.

HRT is sometimes prescribed for women under 60 who cannot take other drugs if they have osteoporosis or are at risk - other drugs which can cause stomach issues.

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 13-Nov-16 14:48:06

do I remember correctly about possible thyroid problems?
they are closely linked to bad bone metabolism. as are some medicines (statins to reduce cholesterol for example).

I take extra vid d3, and do weight exetcises (free weights at home).

calcium is not an issue for most people - plenty of that in even relatively bad diets.

yearly blood test to see if bone is ok.

megletthesecond Sun 13-Nov-16 14:58:44

If its only £50 I might do it.

I had a partial hysterectomy at 35 and 8yrs on I swear I'm peri-menopausal. Bone density is something that really worries me tbh. I'm fit but I never know if it could be a problem in 10/20 years.

PollyPerky Sun 13-Nov-16 16:27:18

pink as far as I know, statins are not related to loss of bone density- that would make them an issue for many people in middle age and older.

I've also never heard of a blood test to check bones- which test do you mean?

meglett 1:2 women over 50 has osteoporosis. If you have any doubts, you should read the NOS website and also see your GP if you are having an early menopause.

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 13-Nov-16 16:48:36

sorry I mixed up statins with blood pressure meds.
the blood test is for certain things that might indicate poor bone metabolism, like calcium , vit d.

PollyPerky Sun 13-Nov-16 17:47:21

Half the population over 50 seem to be on BP meds but I don't think there is anything to say they affect bone density.

You can test calcium and Vit D levels but they only show the level on the day. Osteoporosis takes years to develop- that's why they only do DEXA scans every 2-3 years as bone loss or bone building takes to long.

Katymac Sun 13-Nov-16 19:57:05

OK I have IBS which causes absorption issues - I am deficient in D, B12, iron & Folate

I can't eat a normal or healthy diet

I have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and hypermobility so I struggle with exercise - I am having physio but it's not great

& I have a poor relationship with my GP - my sore elbow was depression for about 8 weeks until it became tennis elbow

PollyPerky Sun 13-Nov-16 21:07:00

Katy- are you following the FODMAP diet for your IBS? You should be able to eat a healthy diet if you do the fodmap.
Has your Gp diagnosed you with those deficiencies?
Has your GP referred you to a dietician? They should have.
Change your GP?

IBS doesn't usually cause poor absorption- coeliac yes, but not necessarily IBS.

Katymac Sun 13-Nov-16 21:27:32

Yes me & dietician got down to meat (not pork or game), potatoes & root veg and I was still going 6 times a day

If I introduce even a teaspoon of anything my tummy goes beserk

I think my ME/CFS/FM/HMS and deficienciesare actually all one thing

B12, Zinc & Vit D together seem to help but I need more B12 I think than they will let me have

I went private & even they said they had no suggestions to help

I am so bored of eating the same stuff over & over again

Katymac Sun 13-Nov-16 21:28:42

Dairy egg & soya intolerant - almond & coconut make me bleed, but apparently that's not an allergy

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 13-Nov-16 21:44:57

how are you with fish?
bony fish like tinned makarel, sardines, anchovies. good source of calcium and protein.
how are you with parmesan cheese?

Katymac Sun 13-Nov-16 21:46:27

Cheese? I'm dairy free

fish I can manage something plain like plaice or salmon but not too much - oily fish aren't really great

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