If you get DEXA scans, how often?: Good morning... - Bone Health

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If you get DEXA scans, how often?

Mekealoha profile image

Good morning all! I joined this community seeking an alternative to Facebook. I am just about a year into the journey of adjusting my lifestyle after learning I have osteoporosis. My GP wants to wait two years for the next DEXA scan (and I understand quality of bone is really the thing, for me at least) but I have a sense that getting a visual a year after would be good, to see if my protocol is taking effect. Wishing everyone a great flow today. Image from yesterdays paintings. One, painted the story about the tension in my jaw, and a watercolor for a landscape painting class I am taking. Chose the landscape.

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Unfortunately DEXA scans have quite a wide margin of error, so getting a 2nd one after just one year is unlikely to tell you anything. Bones only change slowly, so due to the margin of error it could show anything between no change, a huge change or a worsening! It's for this reason that it's recommended to wait at least 2 years and often a longer gap is recommended.

Yes, I saw a rheumatologist on 6th September this year (went about my inflammatory arthritis but she talked about my spine, osteoporosis and the fact that I was no longer taking bisphosphonates) She asked if I had any questions and I asked about another DEXA and she said it was too soon to tell nothing would have changed - I had my first DEXA on January 2020 after I broke my wrist.

My friend who had some sort of infusions is due to get one after her third and final (?) infusion and when I started on oral AA I was told my second DEXA would be in five years time when I finished with it.

As I didn’t keep taking the alendronic acid I haven’t a clue when I’ll get another one - if at all. So I’d think there is no chance of another one after a year.

My GP recommended a dexa scan every two years, but in fact I was referred, at my request, after three years. There was quite a change, from osteopenia to osteoporosis. My new GP couldn’t read the scan results. When I politely requested to see his computer screen myself, I saw what looked like an IT crash to me 🤷‍♀️I resolved to make a new appointment with a different doctor, but then lockdown was upon us. You’ve now reminded me that never happened!

Good morning Mekealoha, I don't think you can compare this forum to Facebook. This forum is helpful, can't say the same about FB. Anyway, your watercolor is a refreshing sight, is this the view from where you live? Hawaii? I am wondering what the painting of the tension in the jaw looks like.And just to stay on track, I had a dexa scan three years ago, and I want the extra time before my next one, to make sure my protocol has improved it.

My rheumatologist recommended two yearly but I always had to prompt him to get it and there was always an inevitable delay because of waiting lists.

Unfortunately covid started when I was overdue one which was of course cancelled and late last year I had my spinal collapse. The change between my previous scan and my collapse nearly three years later must have been quite dramatic for that to happen.

I do wonder if I had the scan done after exactly two years, osteoporosis would have been diagnosed then, and my collapse could have been avoided, especially as I was taking no bone medication at all and I was considered "just osteopenic"

I was also on the list for a hip replacement which was also cancelled and now the orthopaedic surgeon refuses to do it due to the fragility of my back, - a double whammy.

Unhappily I fear I have joined those hundreds of thousands of patients who have had various diagnosis, treatment plans and treatment cancelled because of covid.

From personal experience my advice is you have a scan done two years apart, any later and problems may be harder to treat.

Hi! I love your painting. On your question of Dexa scans. I’ve got osteoporosis badly and mine are every two years.

Hi Mekealoha,

It is my experience that they won't do DEXA scans more often than once every two years "unless there is a significant change". Even with my significant change, they kept refusing until one day I phoned up and got a cancelled appointment the next day. Hope this helps.

Bone takes a long time to react to treatment so having scans more frequently probably wouldn’t tell you very much.I would rely on whether or not you have pain (from fractures) and how you feel.

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