Abbey Chiropractic is pleased to announce it now has a bone density scanner. This is used for the detection and screening for osteoporosis.
OSTEOPOROSIS - how do you know if you have it
What is Osteoporosis?
In trying to answer the question ‘How do you know if you have osteoporosis?’ it’s important firstly to understand what it is. The bones in our body are constructed of an outer thick shell and a strong inner honeycomb network of small struts of bone. Osteoporosis or ‘Brittle bone disease’ as it is sometimes called is when some of these inner struts of bone become thin. This makes the bone very fragile and they can break even after a minor fall or bump resulting in ‘fragility fractures’. Although these fractures can occur anywhere in the body they typically occur in the wrist, hip and spine. Our bones are composed of several building blocks such as calcium salts, the protein, collagen and other minerals. The bones in our body are alive and constantly undergoing changes throughout our lifetime meaning that old, worn out bone is broken down and replaced by bone building cells in a continual process that we call bone turnover. When we are young children our bones grow much more rapidly than they are broken down and this process reaches its peak in our mid 20’s when our bones are at their strongest. Up until the age of 35 the balance between bone demolition and construction stays fairly stable for most of us however after this time the rate at which bone is broken down starts to exceed the rate at which it is replaced as part of the natural ageing process. The rate of bone loss becomes more rapid in women for several years following the menopause which can unfortunately lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of broken bones, particularly for the elderly.
Is Osteoporosis common?
The great diffi culty with trying to detect osteoporosis is that it generally has very few symptoms until a bone is fractured of course! It is surprisingly common too; according to the National Osteoporosis Society, the UK’s leading osteoporosis charity, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone, mainly because of osteoporosis. These are alarming statistics I’m sure you will agree and it is therefore important to be aware of the strength of your bones and your risks of developing or having osteoporosis in order to try prevent fractures before they happen.
Who is at risk of developing Osteoporosis?
Factors that can potentially increase your risk of developing osteoporosis include:
• Family history of osteoporosis• Advanced age, in particular women over 50 years old• Female• Low body weight/Anorexia nervosa –having a body mass index (BMI) of 19 or less• Previous fractures• Excessive exercise• Rheumatoid arthritis• Early menopause, hysterectomy or oophorectomy• Low testosterone levels in men following treatment for some cancers• Hyperthyroidism or Parathyroid disease• Bowels disorders such as Crohn’s or Coeliac’s disease• Conditions causing prolonged periods of immobility/ lack of exercise• Some medications such as long term use of corticosteroids, some anti-epileptic drugs and breast cancer treatments such as aromatase inhibitors• Injectable progesterone contraceptives (Depo provera)• Heavy smoking or alcohol intake greater than 3 units per day• Poor diet, history of restrictive diet or low calcium intake
How can Osteoporosis be detected?
It is not possible to tell by just looking at someone whether they have osteoporosis and a regular X-ray may not reveal it either. You cannot feel or see your bones getting thinner and most people are unaware of any problems until they break a bone or lose height. So how do we check the strength of our bones? The only way to accurately assess the bone density is using a special scan called a dual energy X-ray bone densitometer or Dexascan. This is a simple and painless procedure that can be performed using equipment that has a proven record of accuracy and reliability and is supported by many years of research. Where can I get a bone density scan? You may imagine that these Dexascans are only available through a referral from your GP at your local hospital however this is not the case. Abbey Chiropractic now has its very own scanner, the DTX-200 and we are happy to offer private, confidential bone density scans directly to members of the public. The scan is very simple and it requires no preparation other than the completion of a short questionnaire. The scan of your forearm takes 4 minutes and you will feel only a slight vibration from the scanner. Although the machine uses X-rays it is very safe as the dose is about 1/400th of a chest X-ray! The scan is followed by immediate discussion of the results and should you require any medical intervention a detailed report of your bone density scan which contains data that your GP will accept can be sent to your surgery so that your GP will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. As an introductory offer Abbey Chiropractic is giving a discounted rate for all bone density scans for November and December 2011 which will be a fee of £45. To book your scan or find out more information please call the clinic on 01284 706570.
By Marie Broodryk M.Tech.Chiro., C.C.F.C., LCCpotlight