Osteoporosis

Emma - Interview 14

Female
Age at interview: 61
Age at diagnosis: 47

Brief outline: In 1984 Emma had a hysterectomy. In 1992 she complained of severe headaches and was started on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Diagnosed with osteoporosis around 1994-6 following ribs fracture. Current medication' Strontium ranelate (Protelos) 2 grams every night. Emma also takes omega 3 and cod liver oil.

Background: Widow, works full-time as an office administrator. Lives with her two adult children and has an active social life. She has noticed some improvement since started on Strontium ranelate.

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In her mid-thirties Emma had a hysterectomy. In 1992 she started to experienced severe headaches and her GP put her on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). She said that her headaches stopped and had a good quality of life, was able to continue working full time and had more energy than before HRT.
 
Her diagnosis of osteoporosis came around 1994-6 following rib fractures but at the time she was not put on any medication. What is more, Emma wasn’t particularly worried and didn’t think it was necessary to have a specific treatment for her osteoporosis. She said that everything she read in magazines gave her the impression that HRT was all she needed to protect her bones. In 1999, following a trip to the USA she was advised by her sister’s doctor – her sister also has osteoporosis - that she should consider taking specific medication for her condition.
 
Emma says that osteoporosis began to affect her gradually and one of the first things she noticed was an inability to carry weight. Even a few pounds gave her a severe pain in her back and since then as she put it she has “gone down the drain”. In 1996, she began to have bone density scans every three years.
 
Her current medication is Strontium ranelate (Protelos) 2 grams every night. She says that the one side effect she has is diarrhea. Emma also takes omega 3 and cod liver oil. Emma has noticed some improvement in her condition since starting her drug therapy like being able to stand up a bit longer; she feels a bit more balance when walking and less pain. But at the same time she says that she now lives with limitations for instance she cannot longer go to work using public transport because she can’t stand for long periods of time or walk long distances.
 
Her social life hasn’t been affected by her condition. She belongs to a religious group and she attends the temple at weekends and takes part in other organised activities. She drives and feels that it provides her with a sense of independence. Emma says that her son and daughter are very supportive.
 
Since she found out about her bones problems she started to attend exercise classes regularly. She did Pilates, yoga and some aerobics. Now she has joined a health club and has been doing some weight bearing exercises. She has noticed that her grip is better and overall feels that exercises do her good.
 
Emma says that she wishes someone could have provided her with more information and advice about osteoporosis after she had her hysterectomy.

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