DXA Scanning

DXA scanning is the gold standard test for diagnosing Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. This is the commonest cause of fracture as you get older. It is a simple x ray examination which gives information on your bone mineral density[BMD]. It takes 15-20 mins and can be performed at our WestWell facility within the practice.

If you have a family history of Osteoporosis, have experienced a low trauma fracture or you are taking steroids please discuss the need for a DXA scan with your Doctor or Nurse. 

Signs and symptoms of undiagnosed osteoporosis

Anyone who breaks a bone from a trip and fall or less : even if it was on cement or ice should be screened for Osteoporosis.
It is a lot cheaper to have a DXA scan to see if you have undiagnosed, than wait to see if you break more bones.

Loss of height 2-16cm: It should not be considered normal at any age to loose height. It is a red flag if a person has lost height, especially if they have back pain or their posture has changed.

Sudden severe episodes of upper, middle or low back pain: Anyone who has undiagnosed back pain, Osteoporosis should be ruled out, especially if the person has lost height or their posture has changed.

A hump developing on their upper back:  A hump developing on a person’s back should not be considered “Normal Aging”. If it is from undiagnosed Osteoporosis, the bones in the spine are collapsing, the hump develops because there is not enough bone in the spine to keep the person upright. If treatment is not initiated, research shows that every 6-12 months another bone (vertebrae in spine) will collapse. The hump causes the persons centre of gravity to be off, therefore placing the person at a high risk of losing their balance and possibly fracturing their hip. Even if a person has developed a hump, there are treatments to prevent the hump getting worse. It is very rare when a person can not be treated; we have 98 year olds who have improved their bones.  

Change in body shape or size: This is usually associated with loss of height. This can happen due to the bones in the spine (vertebrae) collapsing, followed by the rib cage ending up resting on the pelvic, because the spine has lost bone support to hold it upright. A Pot belly can than occur as there is no place for the stomach contents to go, other than outwards. This can cause severe pain and/or difficulty in breathing and swallowing, in severe undiagnosed Osteoporosis patients.

Unexplained broken bones:  People with severe undiagnosed Osteoporosis can cough, sneeze, stand up from a chair, roll over in bed and break bones. Anyone with unexplained broken bones should be screened for Osteoporosis.

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