Adela is a 79-year-old homemaker who was diagnosed with osteoporosis after a DXA scan in 2005. However, at the time, she did not return for a follow up visit at the out-patient clinic and was consequently never monitored and never received medication to protect her bones. This is, sadly, not an uncommon occurrence. Osteoporosis is a ‘silent’ disease, with no symptoms (until a bone breaks!), so it is all too often ignored or dismissed in importance by patients and doctors alike.
Adela was coping with multiple health issues. She had had a hysterectomy, and was also diagnosed with hypertension, arrhythmia, hypothyroidism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteoarthritis of the right hip. The latter resulted in total hip arthroplasty (hip replacement) in 2007.
In 2018, Adela returned to the clinic because she was experiencing back pain. Additionally, she had pain in her fingers. She was very concerned because she had seen how her husband’s own diagnosis of osteoporosis and spine (vertebral) fractures had resulted in chronic pain and immobility which was greatly impacting his quality of life. Afraid that osteoporosis would affect her the same way, Adela requested a complete diagnostic assessment. Spine X-rays, DXA as well as a CT scan were done. The shape of the vertebrae was checked to be sure they were not broken. Once again, osteoporosis, but without vertebral fractures, was diagnosed. Her lab results also showed normal calcium levels and vitamin D insufficiency.
Eager to prevent vertebral and other osteoporosis-related fractures, Adele started treatment with a RANK ligand inhibitor every 6 months and calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
Adela makes sure to stick to her treatment and go for follow-up visits. She feels fine and her quality of life has been preserved so that she continues to stay active and perform all her daily activities.
Protecting her bone health now is a priority.