A bit confused : This may be a silly question... - Bone Health

Bone Health

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A bit confused

TeachKat profile image

This may be a silly question- one of the reasons I had a dexa scan (alongside long term high dose steroids) was because I suddenly lost over one and a half inches in height.

Does this mean I have had spinal compression fractures? If so, do they show upon the dexa scan? Given my t scores and frax prediction of 49.8 % 10-year chance of a major fracture, I am taking alendronic acid, but I would just like to understand what’s what.....

3 Replies

Hi TeachKat,

What you are asking is not a silly question!!

It all can be quite confusing.

Dexa scans in my 18 years of experience have always shown changes to the shape of the spine and any fractures new or old.

They are excellent at picking up small changes.

Height loss due to fractures can vary from hardly anything to more significant, dependant on the degree of compression in the frature.

Height loss is not always as a result of having spinal fractures,what many people are not aware of is that it can be caused by degeneragtion of the discs between the vertebrae ( this is very comon as we get older.)

Your bone density is very low and the steroids are well known for lowering bone density.

Sometimes the dosage can be adjusted if people know the triggers for their asthma.

For example for some their symtoms will be worse during winter months and much improved in the summer.

Is it possible to manage your gastro issues with something to replace the PPI that you take as these also contribute to bone loss.

There are many different things to take which are much safer.

Gviscon Advance was recommended to me by a Gastro specialist and it really helped me.

The PPI's also come with many other side effects that are often blamed on something else.

(The longer you take them the more difficult and unpleasant it is getting off them.

I hope I have been able to help in some way.

We osteoporosis patients are left in the dark without much in the way of explanations.

Hi - thank you for your kind and helpful reply! I must admit that the diagnosis was a big shock and a bit of a blow to my self-image of being strong and independent 🤪. I’m now trying to learn what I can about osteoporosis- as you say, the diagnosis seems to come with very little information.

I think the steroids are probably the principal cause- I can’t reduce them yet, but my asthma consultant is putting me forward for one of the new biologic treatments, so hopefully that will help to get off them.

I had never needed any kind of antacid before the steroids and I have been gradually trying to reduce the omeprazole - I now only take it when I have really painful indigestion and can often go several days without it.

Otherwise a Rennie or two works (makes me feel like my grandma!).

Thank you again- I may be back with more questions!

nuigini profile image
nuigini in reply to TeachKat

I've lost an inch due to age-related lumbar spinal compression and a compression fracture at T12.

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