I had a bone density (densitometry or “dexa”) scan yesterday (you just lie on a table while the machine passes overhead). At my age (73) I was probably way overdue for such a test. The only other one I’ve had was the one required when I signed up for Medicare, and as I recall then they only looked at my wrist.
Basically a dexa is an x-ray of your pelvis, lower back, and thighs, because nobody wants to see an old person break a hip (often the beginning of the end). It’s common in old age for bones to thin and weaken, especially in postmenopausal women. In addition, corticosteroids can cause it — I’ve had more than my share of them — and it’s also more common in taller women. I’m 5’8″ (or 5’7½” now if you want to believe the nurses at the cancer center).
The scan didn’t include my chest, where radiation treatments might have weakened my ribs and breastbone, but since broken hips are the biggest concern, I guess I won’t complain. I do wish they’d stop asking me — every single time I check in down there — if I’ve fallen since my last visit. I know it’s a big deal and I’m as cautious as I can be without living in one of those giant bouncy balls, but they are making me positively paranoid about falls. It’s particularly unnerving since I live alone. Come on, people. All I can do is all I can do. Besides, if I do fall, the cast and wheelchair should be obvious.
Anyway, the scan took all of 10 minutes. When I left they said I should probably get the results by Tuesday. They underestimated my doctor. He posted to my “patient portal page” last night that everything was normal.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. I was taking a tiny bit of estrogen until a year ago, and I’ve take calcium supplements for years. And my weight-bearing bones have certainly had some weight to bear. Still, a lot has happened in the last year and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
All in all, “normal” sounds great!