Osteoporosis and bone problems

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become thin (low bone density) and weak, leading to an increased risk of fracture.

Around one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will experience a fracture because of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is normally assessed and managed by your GP who may request a DXA (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry) scan to assess your bone density.

In more difficult cases, your GP may write to us for advice or may refer you to be assessed in person.

About our service

We use a DXA (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry) scanner. This machine uses an X-ray beam to measure bone density.  The result is then used to determine if you have osteoporosis.

If you are diagnosed with the condition and are at high risk of fracture, medication (usually in the form of bisphosphonates) is recommended.

We can also support you by offering advice on exercise, diet and lifestyle to help you manage your symptoms in the long-term.

Patients with osteoporosis are seen in various clinics including in the community. Your appointment letter will tell you where to attend.

Treatments

Although the cause of osteoporosis is largely genetic, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent osteoporosis or slow progression, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Leading an active lifestyle, particularly through safe walking
  • Eating well with enough calcium in your diet
  • Getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and your diet
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Not drinking above the weekly recommended alcohol limit
  • Reducing your risk of falls by maintaining good balance and co-ordination

Further information about all these aspects of management can be found from the royal osteoporosis society website (see below).

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

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Useful videos

We have a wide range of videos which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

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Information for healthcare professionals

Further information including referral criteria can be found at the Devon Formulary website

Last updated: September 20, 2022.

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