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Osteoporosis is recognised as one of the most common long-term conditions affecting people in the UK. It can be thought of as thinning of bone – a loss of bone mineral density (BMD). The primary consequence of this is an increased risk of fracture. There are a number of warning signs that might suggest an increased risk of osteoporosis. These include:
• Personal history of fracture
• Early menopause (before age 45 years)
• Family history of fracture
• Heavy smoking or alcohol use
• Height loss
• Use of medication that lead to bone loss (such as steroids)
Presence of other conditions that can be associated with bone loss (such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease.) These risk factors may, when assessed by a specialist, identify a potential future fracture risk. Further assessment of fracture risk can be gained using a DXA scan, which stands for ‘dual energy X-ray absorptiometry’. At The Edinburgh Clinic we offer the only private DXA scanner in Scotland. A DXA scan measures bone density and allows an assessment of the whole length of the spine to look for the presence of any spinal deformity.
Consultant Physician, Dr Karen Adamson, recently featured on BBC 2 programme ‘The Insiders’ Guide to the Menopause’ where Kirsty Wark asks everything you always wanted to know about the menopause (but were too embarrassed to ask). In a quest for the truth, Kirsty cuts through the confusion and says the unsayable on this very personal odyssey. At the heart of the programme is frank and often funny testimony from famous and not so famous women, including Jennifer Saunders and Kaye Adams, while highly respected experts including the chair of the British Menopause Society give up-to-date advice.
The programme shows Kirsty going for a DXA scan at The Edinburgh Clinic and Dr Adamson gives Kirsty her results and goes over what she should do to maintain healthy strong bones.
We asked Dr Adamson for some advice on what lifestyle changes can be made to reduce the risk:
• Sensible healthy diet, calcium is important as is Vitamin D
• Keep your alcohol intake within recommended daily limits
• Don’t smoke
• Get regular exercise, ideally weight bearing.