Valerie - Interview 03

Age at interview: 67
Age at diagnosis: 63

Brief outline: Diagnosed in 2004 following complains of back and neck pains; on alendronic acid, 70 mg once weekly. She has had three bone density scans and there was improvement on the second but the third revealed a small deterioration of bone density.

Background: Works as a freelance interpreter. To include walking into her daily routine she uses public transport. On average she walks around seven miles or more per week.

Audio & video

Valerie was diagnosed in 2004 following complaints of back and neck pain. Two years previously she had a dislocated shoulder. She has had three bone density scans and there was an improvement in her condition but the third showed further deterioration. Following her first bone density scan she expected to be contacted by her practice if there was ‘anything wrong’ and they didn’t so, she assumed that everything was fine. It was by chance a year later when she went to her GP for another thing that she found out her diagnosis. She has been on alendronic acid, 70 mg weekly, calcium and vitamin D since then.
Her diagnosis came as a ‘shock’ and her initial reaction was of feeling fragile ‘as if I was made of glass’. Until then she has enjoyed very good health. She lived abroad for many years so says that she has enjoyed a healthy Mediterranean diet and plenty of sun. She comes from a family with long longevity and says that there is no maternal history of osteoporosis but her father developed it in his mid 80’s. She smokes around fifty cigarettes per week.
Valerie attends an-all women’s practice and feels happy with the service there. In the past she felt discriminated by a male GP because of her age. Says that age discrimination of older women is widespread in contemporary Britain, and that it is also reflected amongst health professionals.  
Valerie says that she has had little advice and information about osteoporosis. She would like to know if her treatment is able to reverse or stabilise her condition. Valerie has found it harder to find anything she thinks is useful information.


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