Bone density scan

I had an appointment with my gastroenterologist in January. I’ve been taking Imuran since June 2012 and Entocort since September 2012. At my last appointment in September, my doctor told me I would only take the Entocort for a few months and then taper off, which I have been doing since then.

Using steroids (like Entocort) that areoften prescribed for Crohn’s disease can lead to osteoporosis if they are used for a long time. I had previously also taken the steroid Prednisone for a few months, so my doctor booked me for a bone density scan. I had the test back in January, and I would get the results in April, the next time I saw my gastroenterologist.

The test

The test was very easy; there was no prep at all. I just needed to wear clothing without any little metal pieces, like zippers.

For the test, I laid down on a table, and the x-ray technician lifted my feet onto a large block, so if someone was looking at me with their head sideways, I was in the same position as I would be sitting on a chair. Then she sat down at the controls, which were right in the same room. She said the machine gives such little radiation that she can be sitting right beside me in the room and not receive any exposure to it.

You are not enclosed in any small spaces like in an MRI. If you want to see a picture of the machine, there are lots of pictures on Google.

There was an arm that went above the table that slowly moved above my body. She did three x-rays I think: one for each hip and then one for something else.

Then she took away the block, and there was a triangular shaped thing that she put between my feet. I think one foot was strapped to the triangle, and she said my other foot could stay at rest. Then she did another scan, and then she switched the feet.

And that was it! Very easy, very quick.

The results

A week or so after the test, I got a call from my gastroenterologist’s office. My gastroenterologist had prescribed me some tablets to be taken once a week, alendronate, I think, and she wanted me to start taking 1000 mg of calcium and 1000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Unfortunately, I can’t swallow pills, so I can’t take the alendronate. I’ve already got some chewable vitamin D tablets, but I just need to increase the amount I was taking. For the calcium, I’m trying some liquid calcium that tastes a bit like blueberry yogurt, but I’m not very fond of it.

Soon after, my family doctor’s office gave me a call. The results of the scan were also sent to his office, and he wanted to schedule an appointment with my to discuss the results. At my appointment, he explained that these tests are not always accurate for people of my age, but the test seemed to show my bones had gotten softer. He mentioned osteoporosis, but I can’t remember if he said I had it or was at risk for it. He said there are two options: tablets or an injection. He said since he doesn’t have much experience with people my age with this kind of problem, so he would refer me to a specialist, and the specialist could decide what the best option would be for me. My doctor said that the tablets had some not nice side effects, and since I can’t take them anyway, it looks like I might be going to the injections.

We’ll see after I see the specialist.