08 December 2018
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Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It’s a fairly common condition that affects around three million people in the UK. One in two women and one in five men over the age of 80 in the UK will fracture a bone, commonly hip, spine or wrist, mainly due to poor bone health.
Osteoporosis affects men and women of all ages, however is more common in older post-menopausal women because their oestrogen declines after the menopause, resulting in a decrease in bone density.
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It is now possible to accurately determine an individual’s risk of osteoporosis and to monitor their response to treatment by means of bone densitometry. Many cases of osteoporosis are preventable and treatments are effective in reducing the number of further fractures in patients with established disease.
Our dedicated clinic includes a DEXA scan followed by a consultation with an osteoporosis specialist the same morning. Patients can self-refer so long as they meet one of the following criteria:
After the scan, a full report will be prepared. This will take any additional personal risk factors into account in determining future fracture risk and will include recommendations such as the need for drug therapy and follow-up scans where appropriate.
A DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan is a painless and simple form of X-ray which measures bone density and possible bone loss and can be used to monitor the progression of osteoporosis and its response to treatment.
DEXA scans look for signs of fragile bones and help assess your risk of developing fractures, while also sometimes being used to monitor the effects of treatment for osteoporosis.
The scan is performed as an out-patient procedure in the imaging or radiology department and usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. Patients will be awake during the procedure and will have to stay very still so that the final imaged is not blurred.
The aim of treatment in established osteoporosis is to alleviate symptoms, particularly pain and to reduce the risk of further fracture.
Drugs are used to:
1) Treat underlying causes leading to osteoporosis
2) Prevent further bone loss and reduce the risk of further fractures by up to 50%
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