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Think you have osteoporosis? Osteoporosis occurs when our bones become weak because they are less dense. Book your scan online today.
Osteoporosis occurs when our bones become weak because they are less dense. This often happens as we get older, and can result in broken bones, usually in the wrist, hip or spine. One in two women and one in five men in the UK over the age of 50 will break a bone, usually due to osteoporosis, so the condition is very common.
Osteoporosis does not usually have any signs or obvious symptoms. In most cases the first sign of the disease is a fracture or broken bone after a minor bump or fall or even after a strain such as picking up something heavy.
This condition can result in tiny fractures in the spine, which can lead to a reduction in height over time, curvature of the spine or ongoing back pain.
Healthy bone is made up of a thick outer shell and a strong inner honeycomb mesh of bone tissue. This tissue is made up of protein and minerals including calcium. This tissue is continuously broken down and replaced with new cells to keep our bones healthy. As we get older we lose more bone tissue lost than we create, so our bones become weaker.
Reduced levels of oestrogen accelerate the breakdown of bone tissue. That is why more women than men suffer the disease, especially following the menopause.
You have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis if you:
If you are at risk of osteoporosis the only way to check if you have the disease, or are likely to develop it, is to have a scan, which scans your bones. The best screening test is a DEXA scan. Other tests for bone density include ultrasound and CT scanning.
DEXA stands for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The scan is quick, simple and painless and it measures the density of your bones, most often in the wrist, hip or spine.
You may be diagnosed as having osteopenia. This result isn’t serious, but it means your bone density is lower than normal and you may be more likely to develop osteoporosis in the future. A DEXA scan can then be used over time to accurately monitor any changes over time in your bone density.
The following can help build healthy bones:
If you already have osteoporosis there are many treatments that can help to prevent fractures and strengthen bones, such as:
For more information about these drugs, including details of side effects, speak to your doctor. Your doctor will advise you which drugs are appropriate for you.