Know your Bones

By Melissa Baird

I recently injured myself gardening. I tore a pectoral muscle and despite the many cheeky reasons my friends and colleagues invented for the ‘real’ reason behind the injury, it was caused by me trying to pull a water logged tree planter out of the ground with little back up or support. It hurt to laugh or talk and even breathe so I was woman down for weeks and had to go to physiotherapy to ensure the muscle healed correctly. Soft tissue injuries can take up to six weeks to heal and suddenly my scorn of injured rugby players was negated as I realised just how severe this pain can be.

Amidst a haze of pain killers and trips to the physiotherapist, both the physio working on the torn pectoral muscle and the doctor administering the prescription drugs told me that at this ‘stage’ of my life and because of my ‘small’ frame, I should have a bone density scan.

Cue all sorts of dirgeful music begin playing in my head and maudlin thoughts about age and time running out; and more immediately the unanswered question: what impact could bones degeneration have on my very active lifestyle?

I was duly given a script to take to the hospital so I could have my bones scanned but true to form I waited and waited to have the procedure done because I was scared and also loathe to part with over R 1500 for the report.

Then ‘synchronistically’ I saw an advert for bone scans issued by Bone Health SA. I was promised a scan that would be as diagnostically accurate as any offered by the current medical profession and it cost a fraction of what I would pay at a hospital. A bigger bonus was that I did not have to even step foot in a hospital, a place I abhor for its smell of chemical sickness and the sad eyes of those who have to be there.

I made my appointment and despite my best intentions found myself questioning whether I was going to be scammed as well as scanned. To my delight I met Colin Own who has been working with the technology used to complete the scans for many years. He is knowledgeable, kind and efficient and within minutes we were having a healthy chat about all the things that happen as we age and our bones lose their strength.

I was doing all the right things; regular yoga and walking and swimming and staying off processed foods, have a limited caffeine and measurable alcohol intake as well as eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, legumes and nuts.

He told me that in his experience it is vegans who have the best bones and I had to smile as the debate about whether or not to eat meat still keeps friends and family battling with the ethics, health and perceptions they each have to support their point of view.

Osteoporosis UltrasoundThe process they use to measure bone density is via a scan of your mid-shaft tibia (the bone in your shin). The device is called a MiniOmni and is the first and only multi-site ultrasound device that enables first-line early assessment, diagnosis and monitoring of osteoporosis.

MiniOmni is unique in its ability to measure bones density at various places on your body. This physical multi-site measurement enables flexibility in assessing patients who cannot be scanned at a particular skeletal site. It also offers advantages for patient follow-up, enabling identification and monitoring of small changes in different areas of the skeleton.

I was given a detailed report within minutes of the scan of my tibia with the information I needed. The report is colour coded with WHO-compliant T-score and Z-score results and saved in the system, giving me a record of the first scan and enabling me to track any changes.

My result, I passed with flying colours and I have the bones of a woman half my age. I plan to kick up my heels in more ways than one.

For enquiries, contact Colin G. Owen:

Email: colino@telkomsa.net

Tel: 021 671 4907 www.bonehealth.co.za