Most people think of osteoporosis as an older women’s disease. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak, thin and more likely to fracture. Fractures from osteoporosis can result in significant pain and disability. Lupus patients are at increased risk for osteoporosis for many reasons:
The big conundrum for patients with lupus is figuring out whether they are losing bone density. Unfortunately, bone mass can deteriorate with no outward symptoms until a fracture occurs. This is why people who take steroids should have bone density tests every one to two years (or frequently, depending on their drug dosage).
There are several types of scans available. The DXA, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan is one of the most effective. The DXA machine that measures bone density of the spine, hip or total body is not available in government hospitals. This test is currently done in certain private clinics. Since 2011, more than 300 patients have done the test.