WEEK 2: Pestilent Poison

Lena T -

Hello! Thanks for checking into my Week Two blog post!

My current schedule for this month is popping into the clinic for 7-9 hours from Tuesday to Thursday. I plan to continue researching through the Google search engine and dropping by the library to find out additional information relating to Osteoporosis, such as how a DEXA scan is done. Here are my week’s new findings!

According to the National Health Service UK:

  • Patients have to lay flat on an X-Ray table and it usually takes about 10-20 minutes
  • Sometimes patient can remain fully clothes unless the clothing has metal fasteners then a gown would be needed 
  • A scanning arm will move slowly over the patient’s body using a narrow beam of low-dose X Rays
    • Usually, they are paying extra attention to the hip and lower spine to check for weak bones 
  • XRAY detector inside the scanning arm will measure the amount of X Rays that have passed through the body 
  • They will compare the bone density result to a healthy adult of the same age, gender, and ethnicity 
    • The difference between the patient’s result to the healthy adult results ( T score) would be calculated as a standard deviation score 
    • Z score is used for children and people under 30 who are still growing 
  • It is recommended to get a DEXA scan once every 2 years  and no more than that

This past week, I have continued to wreck my at-home-printer-station to compile more surveys. Luckily, the printer managed to help me produce an additional 15 surveys which means we have a total of 50 surveys ready to be given out! We got 7 participants this week (woo hoo)!! Hopefully, in this coming month, I can reach a personal goal of 15 surveys per week. As for now, the surveys are organized into a binder and kept inside a locked cabinet at the clinic for safekeeping.

As I spoke to a participant this week, she gave me a personal insight into what her journey is like as an Osteoporosis patient. Through her primary care provider, she has tried all kinds of treatment from oral medications to injections. She had to drop oral medications because it gave her difficulty in her jaw over time. She alludes to how treatment for the disease is like ‘picking your own poison.’

An exciting surprise awaits us! I connected with an RN who oversees treatment for Osteoporosis. Hopefully, I will be shadowing 2 Nurse Practitioners on how they educate their patients about the treatment at the Flexcare Infusion Center! This will give me far more insight into the provider’s lens of how they address questions and guide their patients throughout the entire treatment journey! The set date is on March 12th so wish me luck!!

Check in next week for week three updates!! See ya later Alligator!

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    Sofia R
    That is cool that you found some guidelines for treatment of Osteoporosis in the UK, but how does it differ from guidelines in America? Is there an internationally recognized treatment plan?
    So interesting!! Why can you only get a DEXA scan once every 2 years? Are there certain circumstances where this doesn't apply?
    Hi Sofia! I have not really thought of that question... I will definitely look into it more!
    Hi Yajaira! I believe that a DEXA scan is recommended to be taken every 2 years because it shows a noticeable difference over a period of time compared to short intervals like every month. You can think of it like... seeing yourself in the mirror every day, you do not see any noticeable changes however, when you look at pictures maybe 2-3 years prior to the current you... you notice changes in the hair, face structure, taste in styles. Circumstances like if you have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis/ Osteopenia and the provider would like to monitor bone density... Bone Density testing can be ordered or if the patient is sent for treatment, some facilities would require more recent bone density results.
    Toby Chang
    From now up to your latest blog, seems like you're doing fantastic with surveys. Do you have a plan to follow up with patients over a period of time, or is it more of a snapshot in time?
    DEXA scans seem very useful! It is unfortunate that there is no one best treatment for Osteoporosis, but at the same time it is nice to be able to find a treatment that might fit a patient more personally.

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