In 2002, reflexologist and aromatherapist Helen slipped off a rock on the beach which was no more than a few inches high. This slight fall resulted in her breaking her ankle, aged 57.
Both her tibia and fibula bones needed pining and she was in hospital for 12 days. Helen then spent 6 weeks in plaster, unable to bear any weight on her ankle. Once out of plaster, it was another 4-6 weeks before Helen could drive or walk without crutches and she continued to use a walking stick for many months afterwards.
At a follow up appointment with her GP, Helen requested a bone scan but this was refused. She offered to pay for one privately but was told by her GP that this was unnecessary.
Ten years passed and Helen learned that Synexus, a drug company with a research centre in Reading near her home, were offering scans to post-menopausal women as part of their clinical trials on osteoporosis medication. Helen took advantage of this opportunity and volunteered to have a scan. The results were sent to her GP and she was diagnosed with osteoporosis in December 2012, a full decade after her first fracture.
Helen now takes Alendronic Acid and calcium and Vitamin D supplements. She joined a Ladies Only Gym after her diagnosis to increase her weight bearing activity. For many years now Helen has done yoga, attended an Aquafit class and walked very regularly. She tries to include more calcium rich foods in her diet as well as encouraging her daughters to do the same!
Helen wishes she had pushed harder for a scan in 2002 and feels that if she had been diagnosed sooner, she would be in a stronger position now in terms of her bone health. Fortunately for Helen, she did not fracture again in that ten year period. Many undiagnosed people with osteoporosis are not so lucky.