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What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the term used to describe bones when they become ‘porous’, when the struts which make up the mesh-like structure within bone start to disappear. This leads to a reduction in bone strength and an increased risk of fracture after injuries such as a low impact fall.
These broken bones or ‘fragility fractures’ can occur in different parts of the body, although the wrist, hip and spine are most commonly affected.
Osteoporosis is thought to affect 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men during their lifetime. It is critical that the bone mineral density (BMD) of those at risk is measured in order to find out if you have osteoporosis or at risk of developing it.
The Wye Valley NHS Trust Osteoporosis and Fracture Liaison Service at Hereford County Hospital provides a bone densitometry DXA scanning service for patients who have had a fragility fracture or are at risk of osteoporosis for other reasons.
We perform DXA scans using a Hologic bone densitometer, which uses a very low dose of X-ray in order to quickly and accurately work out your bone density. A DXA report, including recommendations for treatment, will then be sent to the referring doctor.
According to the result, this may also include an assessment of your risk of breaking a bone over the next ten years, using the FRAX tool, which can be helpful in deciding about whether you need treatment. For more information about the FRAX tool, visit www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX
Your GP can refer you for a DXA:
- If you are a postmenopausal woman over 50 with a low trauma fracture (defined as a limb fracture after a fall from standing height or less while stationary or walking, or a vertebral fracture of the spine)
- Or, if you are a woman or man over 50 with a FRAX score in the intermediate or high risk zone
To make a referral, your GP needs to complete a DXA request form.
In other circumstances, your GP may want to contact us first to establish eligibility.
Alternatively, it may be that you are referred for a DXA scan by a hospital consultant looking after you for a condition such as breast cancer or coeliac disease or you have been case found by the Fracture Liaison Service following a fragility fracture either as an inpatient or whilst attending fracture clinic.
Osteoporosis and Fracture Liaison Nurses
We have an Osteoporosis and Fracture Liaison nurse team that works under the Rheumatology department alongside the Rheumatology Consultants. The nurse team provides a telephone clinic service. It is used for patients that require intravenous or subcutaneous treatment for osteoporosis with Zoledronate or Denosumab. Zoledronate is given once a year and Denosumab every six months.
We have a day case facility for administering these treatments within the Fred Bulmer Medical day case unit and Oxford Suite at Hereford County Hospital.
If you are to be given this treatment, you will need some blood tests to check you are suitable, which will be arranged by the doctor who sees you in clinic or a letter will be sent to you requesting you get blood tests at your GP surgery. The Osteoporosis Nurse Team will co-ordinate this and will then go onto contact you via the telephone clinic.
Osteoporosis further useful links
FRAX – The WHO Fracture Risk Assessment
FRAX Risk Assessment Tool
NHS Choices - Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis - NHS
The Royal Osteoporosis Society (formerly the national osteoporosis Society).
- Nurse team - 01432 355444 ext 5790 (answerphone available)
- Elizabeth Watkins –Osteoporosis & Fracture Liaison Practitioner (RGN)
Working days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
- Tanya Brooks –Osteoporosis & Fracture Liaison Registered Professional (RGN)
Working days Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Tina Brown – Osteoporosis & Fracture Liaison Nurse (EN) -working days Tuesday & Thursday
- Lorrayne Robinson – Osteoporosis Service Secretary
01432 355444 ext 5461 (Monday to Friday)