I’ve been paying more attention to the health of my bones recently. Having a stress fracture in my femur last year led to me being diagnosed with Osteopenia. This means that my bone density is slightly reduced, although not as severely as in Osteoporosis. My bones being weaker and thinner than they should be for someone of my age was contributed to in part by using the Depo Provera injection for 8 years. Osteopenia can precede full-blown Osteoporosis, but this isn’t always inevitable. In my case, my bone density should return to the normal range now that I’m not using the contraceptive injection.
There are rarely any symptoms associated with Osteoporosis, which is why this condition remains undiagnosed until the first fracture. Osteoporosis is a condition often associated with older people, however our bones start to age from our mid-thirties, therefore early identification and intervention is critical to minimise risk and help manage osteoporosis later down the line. Women are particularly at risk, especially after the menopause due to hormonal changes. However research found that 46% of women don’t actually know what Osteoporosis is, which could be why a worrying third of women with the condition remain undiagnosed.
To get my diagnosis, I went for a DEXA scan which is a special type of X-ray which measures bone mineral density. However, I was interested to find out about a new at-home test which is set to transform Osteoporosis screening in the UK. Osentia® is a simple and non-invasive test that only requires a fingernail or toenail clipping and a health questionnaire to be sent to a laboratory. The clipping will be analysed to look for changes in the nail structure, which correlate with your risk of developing Osteoporosis.
I was intrigued by how much information can be deduced from a simple fingernail cutting, so I took part in the test myself. It was a simple and quick process, although it did feeling slightly strange sending my mail clipping in the post! Results arrived by email within days.
Test results are separated into a traffic light system- green meaning low risk, amber meaning moderate risk and red meaning a relatively high risk of suffering from fragility fractures. Thankfully my result was well within the green zone for Osteoporosis.
The test results come with some lifestyle advice, much of which is already second-nature to me:
- Refrain from smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Take regular exercise, particularly weight-bearing and resistance exercise
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, rich in Vitamin D and Calcium
Osentia is available in the UK exclusively from Superdrug at £39.99, I’d highly recommend taking the test to put your mind at ease about the risk of fragile bones.
I was provided with the kit for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
Are you aware of Osteoporosis? Have you ever taken an at-home health test?