bone density

Has anyone using steroid inhalers; or has taken at least 3 courses of steroids lasting a week each yearly; had a bone density test? What is it? Someone has advised me to ask for one.

59 Replies

It's a very simple scan, usually of your hip to ascertain if your bones are thinning. As you take steroids it is a good idea to get it done.

Good reply it's all worth knowing where you stand with your medication. Xx

They did mine and found that I do fall into osteoporosis. I have no symptoms, can't take the meds so carrying on as normal.

Me too.


Yes as explained by Littleton it's anime density test. I have to have one every three year instead of five, I have a reduction in bone density because of the steroids and I have osteoporosis.xxxloove Bernadette 😳

Sorry you have ended up with that condition. X


take care

Same here Bernadette, have another Bone Density scan this Tuesday xx

A DEXA scan, see here:-

"Some people need a DEXA scan to confirm that their risk of developing bone fractures is high enough to need treatment. For others, particularly elderly people over 75 years old, the risk of fracture may be so high that there's no need for them to have a DEXA scan before treatment is prescribed."

"Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DEXA is today's established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD)."


Steroids over the last 11 years and have Osteoporosis. 3 bone fractures in 30 months despite being on relevant medication. Biggest issue is weight loss and I do eat very well. Losing 4 stone in 3 years is worrying. Average weight during my life was 11st 7 lbs @ 5' 11". I guess it is thanks to prednisone & COPD ?

take care

Some advised me to get a bone density test too as I've been on five courses of steroids this year now. I know my mother in law ended up with osteoporosis Through taking to many steroids and she actually shrank in size. It that was over a lot of years taking them for asthma, never the less I'm going to ask too. I go to see the specialist on the 5th October I'll ask then and let you know. X

Good luck

At Pulmonary Rehab, we were advised to ask for a bone density scan if more than three lots of steroids a year. My GP was a little scathing about it but referred me anyway and it showed up that I have evidence of bone thinning but not yet osteoporosis. I was put on Alendronic Acid which you take once a week and AdCal which you take twice a day. I had to stop the Alendronic Acid as it caused me to have an increase in vertigo, but I still take the AdCal.

The scan was very simple - just had to lay on my back, pull up my top a little and loosen my trousers and pull them down a little. It was very quick.

I'm glad I had it done.

xx Moy

The pre- osteoporosis condition is called osteopenia. It's always useful to know if you have it so we can make sure we do something about it yourselves. P

I agree with that, and I will thanks. X


Thanks for the info

Thanks for all the advise I'm going to ask if I can be checked out, last year alone I was on steroids four times and the year before same, this year five times so far and probably before the year ends I'll be on more, ever really worried about it before but when it starts to get more regular then I think it should have been suggested anyway, unless that's something the specialist will arrange anyway. Hope so. Thanks for advise. Xx

I'm on the same the once a week and adcal twice a day ,Didn't know it was caused by steroids that I take for copd,been on them most of my life to be honest I'm now 50 but say it quietly

I also cannot take Alendronic acid nasty side effects within minutes.

I decided that I preferred to be without the side effects and take my chances! xx Moy

Yes me too. Had a dexa scan over 2 years ago and showed osteoporosis in the red area ! Put me on alendronic acid but went off them because my hair started to fall out. Take the ad cal when I remember. Am on steroid inhalers but didn't know they affected bone density ? Must get another check up. Thank you everyone for making me aware x

What kind of side affects Moy?

Hello dickinson1954 . I am on steroids all year round both. I had a bone density test in spring. It really is easy. You just like in a table and they run a scan over you. No discomfort only that you can't move while the test is going on. As far as I remember it lasted about fifteen minutes. I wouldn't worry too much

Best wishes,

Cas xx 🍃


Hi there, I have one every 4 years. I have osteopenia, but am working hard with weight training and load bearing exercise. Luckily I have remained stable over last 3 scans but am still having to use lots of steroids.


That sounds like a good plan. Weights!

I wonder if I should have one too? I have been on symbicort for the last 9 years and have taken steroids 2/3 times a year for chest infections. I am in my early 60's with mild/mod copd. What do others think please?

Yes you Should xx

Thank you for your advice. I will ask my doctor but they hate referring and usually need proof of concerns like this such as a previous break or something. Their answer to everything at my age is it's age related. hi lilaclil this explained about osteoporosis. I had a bone scan a few years ago and I was okay.

That is very helpful thank you very much Ntb. I have quite a few of the risk factors apart from using symbicort for many years so think I will ask my doctor to get this checked.

I would also like my thyroid and cholesteral checked but the receptionist said if there were signs or the doctor suspected this it would be checked. As far as I know I don't have any signs at all but I know it can be hereditary and my mother had thyroid problems. xx

You are welcome lilaclil. I think evey surgery has a receptionist who thinks they are a doctor. I would ask your GP they only know these things by doing blood tests. Good luck. Xx

Well I imagine the receptionist knows how it all works. I will make an appointment next week. Many thanks for all your help. xx

Similar to me Lilaclill. We are more likely to get osteoporosis as we get older and the steroids will aid this condition. I may wait and see how the year pans out though it was a doctor friend who mentioned the bone test to me.

I’ve not had a bone density test, but I was told the diabetes I was diagnosed with four years ago was caused by the amount of oral steroids I’d taken for chest infections over the years (I’m 41 now, had severe asthma since childhood, so you can imagine, that’s a lot of infections!)

If you’ve had a lot of steroids through the years (not just this year) it might be worth getting checked for diabetes too.

Thanks Seems like I am pre diabetic because of the steroids, though my sugar levels have been in the diabetic zone after taking a course of prednisolone

Yeah..... diabetes is a side effect of prednisolone. It’s what done for me 😕

Hi there , this test is quite simple you can even have a private one done if you wish or have health cover. I have had more than one done due to being at risk from taking steroids, small stature, family history , broken bone history, but my bone density is very good I have been informed, no need for retest until I reach eighty they said with a smile . Joking aside it is worth having one as there are two types of osteoporisis so I was told, there is a pre condition that can be improved with drugs. Good luck if you ask for one to be done.Synexus do these tests for research and they have clinics all over the country might be worth enquiring if there are any ongoing ones available right now. They can be found on line by typing in Synexus in your search engine.

It's a strange one - again I've found it difficult to get docs to confirm that 3 separate foot fractures I suffered some years ago were down to oral steroids as I have no impact wounds or injuries.

However, on a positive note - my first bone scan diagnosed osteopenia (milder form of osteoporosis) and then dreading my next DEXA scan 5 years later, the hospital found some improvement in my bone density which is now just 1% off normal.

I can only put this down to my doing more walking and eating authentic Greek yoghurt (not Greek style) in the morning. You can buy this in Aldi at a cost of £1.29 I think its more expensive elsewhere.

Anyway maybe for once I've just been lucky and I really sympathise with those who have gone on to develop osteoporisis. Unfortunately none of us know what the future holds.

Best wishes

Sandra x

good outcome! I buy aldi greek yoghurt but must check to see if its greek style or authentic

I have had a huge amount of steroids over the years, so much so I have steroid induced diabetes. I have been on high dose steroids since March of this year , and I had a bone density scan because my GP, was very concerned given the steroids + my age (57) and I'm post menopausal. Lot's of things to factor in, but my results were just fine, everything was very healthy, I was surprised but just goes to show sometimes we worry when there's no need, good luck with your scan, its very easy and painless, doesn't take long.

lets hope your bone density results continue

Can I ask is it only oral steroids we need to be wary off or does nearly 50 years of inhaled steroids mean caution too ? Do I need a bone scan ?

Haven't asked GP yet (I doubt if he'll suggest it) but there's been so many other serious things wrong with me the past 6 years I've put a bone scan on the long finger. Tbh I was avoiding the radiation in the scan ! I don't even allow CT scans or chest X-rays anymore - it's MRIs all the way for me now ! "Oh but it's a very small amount of radiation" I often hear's still radiation ☠️ I would go for a bone scan if needed though, I wouldn't be neglectful of myself.

I've just turned 60 and take a cocktail of Meds every day for a history of many hard to handle illnesses including Asthma and Bronchiectasis. I'm slim and fairly fit though so that's bound to help ?

Your opinions would be appreciated.


I think its both but predominately oral ones BUT NOT 100% SURE.

Had the injection when first diagnoses and low dose steriods since 2010. I have a yearly scan and infusion once a year. As bone density has decreased.

I have also been taking quite high doses of steroid over the last 10 years and a bone scan is scheduled for every two years. I have been taking Alendroinic acid every week since it was found that I fell into the osteoporosis bracket. I need the steroids to enable breathing and have suffered bone loss bad enough to effect my teeth most of which have now either fallen out or have been extracted. Its about finding balance all the time with this illness COPD/Emphysema

Poor you. One illness/condition seems to lead to another because of the meds we take.

I had osteoporosis before I started taking steroids for COPD, but what is a strong dose of steroids.

I have been on 6-5gm a day for 5 days then dropping down to 3 a day, which I have taken daily for months.

Trouble is I think you get immune to them, and they dont have the same affect now., and still have breathing probs, just standing up, or walking 2 yards.


I hate taking oral steroids as they make me hyper for a week and no sleep.

Hi Dickinson, I'm having another Bone Density Test This Tuesday. Yes, I take Steroid Inhalers and Yes take Rescue Meds, Prednisolone, when I know I am going to have a Chest Infection. Good Luck x

Oh Forgot...I have osteoporosis & Hip replacement...But Hey, I'm Alive and do low level Exercise regularly......Good Luck x

You seem to be coping well. I am in awe of the people on here who are so positive and are probably in a much worse condition than I am health wise though it was a bit of a scare to find it difficult to go up the flights of stairs on hol as this has always been ok before.

taking my test Tuesday

Me too at 3pm Today xx

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