Posted by: zoe | 2008/06/19

Bone density scan needed but have no job

I am a 51 year old menopausal women. I come from a long line of women with severe osteo-arthritis. Go figure, my 87 year old immigrant mom only revealed this to me recently so I never knew. Mom mom 's bone scans look like fragmented glass. She has had broken bones too many times to count. She walks badly in a very awkward curved angle.
I noticed since 6 months or so ago that I struggle in the morning to remove the duvet off my body as the joints in my fingers hurt too badly. Even taking a tea bag out the container cannot be done until a while later. I wake up often at night with severe pain in my hip joints - my knees always hurt even though I force myself to exercise for an hour daily.
I was made redundant as the company closed down. My savings are fast dwindling. Is there any chance at all that I would qualify to have a Bone Density Scan at a Provincial Hospital so that I can have a rough idea what the state of my bones are.
Would they accept me even though my income really is a struggle now and will be for quite some time to come.
I live in JHB but would travel anywhere if this could be done if possible. Thanking you kindly for your advice.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHealthy Bones

Dear Zoe
Firstly- remember, there is a huge difference between osteo-arthritis and osteoporosis. Osteo-arthritis affects the joints and occur in most of us as we age- especially if you were quite active and sporty. It is basically the normal "wear and tear "changes we experience as we age. It can be worse in people with a family history.
Osteoporosis affects the density of the bones, making it more susceptible to fractures.
It sound as if you have osteo-arthritis (pain and stiffness in the joints.
Please make an appointment at the Arthritis Clinic of your local Provincial Hospital. They can do the necessary tests and also refer you for a bone density scan. I think there is a scanner at Wits and at the Joburg General.

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