Osteoporosis or Osteopenia?

I have just had a dexa scan after 18 months with pmr and I am not sure what the results mean, am hoping someone out there will help.   My T-score lumbar spine is -1.8 and left neck of femur -2.3 total left femur -1.6.   The rheumy thinks I need a yearly infusion of IV Zoledronate for 3 years.   Does the result show osteopenia  or osteoporosis and has anyone else had IV zoledronate infusions?  Thanks again to all who post on this forum, would be totally lost without it!

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  • Where are you? In the UK or the US?

    If you are in the UK then this is who you want: nos.org.uk/

    In the US there is nof.org/

    The UK charity has an excellent helpline where a specialist nurse will talk you through the results and your needs/options. I don't know if there is an equivalent in the US.

    T-scores down to -1.0 are normal, between -1.0 and -2.5 it indicates there is some loss of bone density, the more the closer you get to -2.5. Below -2.5 you are in the osteoporosis range.

    So all your results are well into the osteopenia range, the left NOF is very close to osteoporosis. That is really the "risk area", the bone that elderly ladies fall and break and often don't recover from fully - though the Queen Mum did. 

    I can't comment on the zolendronate infusions as I've not had one.  But i'm sure the UK helpline will explain them very well.

  • Thank you so much pmrpro, I will contact the people you recommend today.  

  • Generally speaking the OP medications are no longer recommended for people in the osteopenia range.  Other strategies are advised, namely the right kinds of supplements and diet, and appropriate exercise.  Has your doctor given you any guidance regarding these?  The OP meds, as you probably know, come with a slew of possible rather scary side effects, so if you can avoid taking them that would be a good thing.

  • No I have not had any info on this medication and not presented with any choice in the matter, so I need to get better informed before making any decision,  thanks for your reply.

  • There is a bone health forum on HealthUnlocked, and also very interesting discussions on the Patient website: the Osteoporosis forum and another one started on Alendronic acid which has sort of morphed into an online support group for people who have rejected the medication.  A number of websites have really good information about ways to improve bone health without resorting to OP medication.  Basically it's through diet and supplements and appropriate exercise.   If you like I could private message you my account of what I'm doing for myself.  The only t-score I have (I don't yet have access to my complete report) is -2.

  • Thank you for your reply..yes if you could let me know of other ways to tackle bone health I would be most grateful,. I am finding it hard to come to terms with more extra medications, but I suppose if you have to you have to!!

  • Sending it along.   Please note this is just from my reading, I've no medical training.  If you see anything wrong or want to add anything, please let me know - always learning, often tweaking this little essay!

    Cheers,   Jean

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