Do it now or regret it later

62-year-old Gary Hunter was shocked to learn that his broken vertebra was caused by osteoporosis.

Guest Post:

I am trying to get all my friends and acquaintances who are over the age of sixty to have a bone density scan. It is easy. You are fully dressed and it only takes about 15 minutes. No entering a “tunnel” as in CT scans etc.

You just lie on a table and an “arm” is passed over you. The results are passed to your doctor, who can, if necessary, prescribe medication which will increase the density and strength of your bones.

Why do I want them to be checked? To save them the trouble, the pain and the expense that I am having right now.

When we are of working age, we take for granted our mobility and our usual freedom from pain, but with advancing years the aches and pains become almost inevitable. How many of you have “bad backs?” How many have lost some height?

My own back went on March 3rd as I was bed-making. An x-ray showed that I had a 30% fracture of the L2 vertebra (the one just above the tail-bone) The pain is like that of a dagger – or how I imagine a dagger would feel. Since then, (and I don’t know how this one happened), a scan has shown that I have another fractured vertebra, just above my waist. I have slept in a chair for about the past three weeks because the bed is too painful. Standing unsupported is impossible too.

I’ve had a new-ish drug administered.  This is needed annually and increases bone density.   It cost me $115, but will take a while to work I suppose. Still, it should help.

It is proving costly in SO many ways, simply because I am having to pay people to drive me, to do housework, and so many of the activities I used to take for granted. Thank goodness I have a few savings.

I’ve found details on line of a small operation named kyphoplasty, but haven’t as yet, been able to find how much it costs in New Zealand. It is quite ingenious, and I am pinning all my hopes on it.  Oh, to return to “normal”! To be independent again.

However, there is nothing like constant pain to encourage one to spend one’s hard-earned savings. It would certainly have been far better and cheaper to have spent on a bone-density scan.

Osteoporosis does not only affect women. Men can get it too  With an ageing population, I am almost sure nation-wide testing would be a saving in the long run, – prevention being better than cure.

Researchers at National Jewish Health are pushing for at-risk men to be included in osteoporosis screening guidelines. Currently, the screening guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force only include women. Credit: National Jewish Health

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