Did you know that 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will get osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), according to Dr Moira O’Brien of the Irish Osteoporosis Society?
I certainly did not think that the risk was as high. Having had an early-ish menopause at 48 and with the added risk factor of osteoporosis in the family, I have been remiss in not heading for a bone scan before now. Also, I broke my ankle nearly two years ago, I fell off a chair with castors while chasing a cobweb….don’t ask!
So I made an appointment for a dexa scan at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry. This measures the density of the bones, assesses strength and works out the risk factors associated with breaking bones. The radiation dose, I understand, is even lower than an airport scanner, which is comforting to know. My doctor had given me a letter at my last visit, which incidentally is invalid if not used within six months! Luckily my Health Insurance provider Laya covered my scan and I didn’t have to pay anything. You need to check your cover with your own provider.
First, there was the usual form filling relating to my medical history and risk factors. A lovely young radiographer, Dearbhla, brought me from the waiting area into a small changing room which opened from there into the x-ray room. I had to undress and put on one of those hospital gowns which opened at the back. Then I was measured and weighed. Following which it was up on to a bed and while lying on my back a bar moved back and forth over my body. The bones in my lower back /spine and both my hips were scanned. It is not like an MRI, as you are not enclosed at all, so there is no claustrophobic feeling and no clunking.
The entire process from the time I entered the X-ray room to when I left took about ten minutes. My scans are to be read by a consultant radiologist and the results will be sent to my GP next week. It was all rather simple, so why didn’t I do this years earlier? Now it is fingers crossed that my healthy diet and my active lifestyle will outweigh those other risk factors and my bones are strong and healthy for my age. Keep you posted!