Osteoporosis

Susan - Interview 11

Female

Brief outline: Susan was diagnosed in 2005. She was put on alendronic acid but started having a severe burning sensation on her throat. She stopped taking the medication. She is very concerned about the possible side effects of pharmacological treatments.

Background: Susan lives on her own but her daughter lives in the next village. Susan's mother had osteoporosis. She would like more information on non-drug based treatments for osteoporosis

Audio & video

Susan suspected she had osteoporosis a few years before diagnosis. She used to get back pain when bending down or carrying heavy bags. Her mother had severe osteoporosis. Four years ago her back pain got worse and she could hardly move. Initially doctors suspected she had a pinch nerve in her buttocks and sent her to physiotherapy sessions but to no avail. She eventually had a DXA scan (bone density scan) that revealed she has osteoporosis. To alleviate her back pain and improve mobility she was given an injection into her spine which had steroid (she can’t remember the name of it) and that greatly improved her quality of life.

 
She started to take Fosamax everyday following her diagnosis and although she worried about side effects she took it on a regular basis. She then moved to another town and her new GP changed her trademark medication for the generic type alendronic acid. She started to have painful refluxes. She had a burning sensation in her throat and her GP changed her prescription to Actonel. But after reading about medication for osteoporosis and talking to an acquaintance – a medical scientist - about the side effects of medication she decided to stop taking any drugs for her condition.
 
Recently she had begun to feel some discomfort in the top of her spine and would like to discuss this with her GP as well as finding out about what else she could do or take – apart from drugs – to help her condition. But she finds that GP’s do not give sufficient time to the patients to discuss these issues. She said ‘I just find that doctors never give you enough time to discuss these kinds of things. You know if your ten minutes is up that’s it’
 
At the moment Susan’s main form of exercise is walking and gardening and occasional swimming. At present a lot of her time is taken by helping her daughter with her grandchildren, in particular with her older and disabled grandson.
 
Susan was a professional athlete in her youth, a runner, a sprinter and a long jumper. Now she is a keen player of bridge and she is busy most evenings. She lived in Asia for several years and she often travels abroad to visit her son, other relatives and friends.
 

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