Back to the bone density test

I wrote here about getting up early to have a bone density test and mammogram. The results came within a a day or so, and as I expected, the mammogram was just fine. Because Medicare allows this test every year, and the doctors only get paid when people come to have this test, they told me to come back in one year. No. Maybe three or four years.

The bone density results didn’t surprise me because, as I mentioned to you, I had lost two inches of height so I figured the bones were decreasing. Yes. My spine has an .8 percent decrease from 2019. The left femur has a 2.1 percent decrease in density measurement and the right femur has a 1.1 percent decrease.

Why is my left femur deteriorating more? I’ll try to remember to ask my physician when I see her at the end of February. Her response may be the usual: it’s what happens when you get older. She did send an email about the results saying to keep taking vitamin D and calcium and walk more. Since our weather has been gorgeous this week, I have walked, but I am very much a fair-weather walker.

The lab also included a 10-year fracture risk assessment. I have a 16 percent risk of major osteoporotic fracture. I must remember that means I have 84 percent of not breaking something. My risk for hip fracture is 2.5 percent. That seems to be better odds, but really? Who knows for sure. This lab report says to come back in 2-3 years. That would concur with my plans for another mammogram.

12 responses to “Back to the bone density test

  1. I have osteopenia, too, and since there is little to be done about other than exercise and vitamins, I don’t worry too much about it. I think you’re doing the right thing by concentrating on the good side of those numbers. Let me congratulate you on your strong bones! 🙂

    • No, I’m not worrying, just doing my best, and as my doctor says, don’t fall. That was the thought I had as I toppled last May in the dentist office because I wasn’t paying attention. First broken bone in 69 years.

  2. Elizabeth Rogers

    Although it was recommended 25 years ago when I was 60, I never did get around to having a bone density test. At the time I was still working 50-60 hours/week and it wasn’t a priority. A few years later, when I asked what could be done if the test showed that I had a problem, I decided not to have it. The treatments offered at the time involved MAJOR and highly unpleasant side effects, especially involving the digestive system and jaw. That has probably changed over the years.
    I have scoliosis, osteoarthritis and nerve damage from 3 back surgeries in my 20s, so I probably have osteoporosis, but I’m now 85 and still more or less upright and mobile. Zero broken bones to date. Although there’s no guarantee, I’m careful about not falling. I don’t climb ladders (or trees) anymore. I didn’t do my daily walk the week after Christmas when we had 6-10″ of snow with ice underneath. Otherwise, I walk daily, drink 1% milk and take Vitamins D, C + a multi vit.

    • It’s convenient that bone density and mammogram can be done at the same facility. They used to be at different places. My husband also has osteopenia and climbs trees to prune them. Our doctor knows this and says okay.

  3. Elizabeth Rogers

    Oops, forgot to add: I did have yearly mammograms faithfully until I was in my mid-70s.

  4. You might want to add some flexibility and balance exercises to your regimen; if you’re steadier on your feet you won’t be as apt to fall, and less apt to break something.

    • Yes, I do balance exercises each day while I work out with my weights. I had balance therapy sessions before I retired which my insurance paid for. I wanted to know how to stay upright. Eyes, nose, toes all align is a chant I use and if I’d been following that in May, I wouldn’t have fallen at the dentist office.

  5. I have lost 3/4″ in height and been diagnosed with osteoporosis, but the local hospital used four different machines and probably none of them were correctly calibrated. The bone medication my doctor was bullying me into taking tends to suppress healing of minor bone injuries (I read the Harvard study)—the reason people who have been on Fosamax for too long break bones. My mother was on the stuff for over ten years (no longer recommended) and she broke a hand, wrist, arm, skull, and both hips. It is the same drug that has led to racehorses spontaneously breaking their legs. They suffer a series of micro-fractures that would normally heal, but instead the damage accumulates and their legs shatter. So I take D and a multi, exercise, never smoked, eat well, vegetarian, drink in moderation. I should do balance and weights… The thing is, I HAVE fallen and fallen hard but no breaks.

  6. Elizabeth Rogers

    Maybe osteoporosis treatment hasn’t improved as much as I might have thought. I’m glad I didn’t let the medical folks insist that I take any of those drugs. Even NSAIDS “burn a hole” in my esophagus so I can’t imagine what Fosamax, etc. could do–and that would be before the other serious long-term side effects kick in. I’ve lost some height, too, but so be it.

  7. Very interesting post and comments here! I have osteopenia in my right femur neck, but nowhere else. I am the same height. I take calcium and Vitamin D.

    • My doctor checks my blood levels every six months for calcium and vitamin D. Mine are always spot on, but Terry’s last blood test showed too much calcium and she had him cut back on the amount he takes. He too has osteopenia. But, he drinks a lot of milk and eats dairy, which I don’t.

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