Quite recently a new testing kit for fracture risk became available for people to use at home. A common cause of easily broken bones or fractures is due to osteoporosis. This is a horrendous disease which usually goes completely unnoticed until someone breaks a bone. As such it is called the ‘silent disease’ and the only way to tell whether you have thinning bones is to have a Dexa scan.
I’m someone who loves to know as much as possible about my health and what’s going on inside my body so I was intrigued to see how it worked and what the results would be.
These days we’re lucky in that there are various ways and means of undergoing health checks in the comfort and privacy of our own homes.
The main way of diagnosing osteoporosis is to have a dexa scan. However, due to the expense, this is only routinely offered to women aged 65+, men 75+ or those who meet the criteria for a scan.
Recently I underwent a private test to see whether I'm still losing bone faster than creating new bone and fortunately it showed my bone turnover rate was perfectly normal which was a great sign.
I was interested to see whether the Osentia test would reveal any further information about my fracture risk.
What the company says about their test:
“Millions of Brits will be able to check their risk of developing osteoporosis with Osentia® Osteoporosis screening test, a new clinically-proven[i-vi], safe and accurate at-home test that is available for the first time exclusively in the UK from Superdrug.com.After filling out the form and posting it together with the nail clipping, the results were emailed back just 3 days later.
The test uses the latest screening technology to assess an individuals’ risk of suffering fragility fractures, a common sign of osteoporosis, by analysing a fingernail or toenail clipping and providing results in just seven days.
Osteoporosis, known as the ‘silent disease’ because it has no symptoms and can remain undiagnosed until a bone is fractured, is fast becoming a major public health concern with 300,000 people in the UK going to hospital every year because of a fragility fracture.”
They provide a graph showing your risk factor of suffering from a fractured bone for your age as well as a green, amber or red profile indicating how likely you are to suffer from a fracture based on the nail clipping and information provided.
They also send an e-booklet which provides self-help information on risk factors for developing osteoporosis as well as diet and lifestyle advice on how to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
I found the results interesting and was pleased to notice that the result wasn’t in the red – high risk of fracture. However, the questionnaire asks whether you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and in my case, the answer was yes.
I wondered whether this swayed the results at all. I’d be really interested to undergo another test but this time not ticking yes box for osteoporosis, then seeing whether the results differ much.
Either way, I think this is a useful kit for home use if you have any concerns about osteoporosis. It can be difficult getting a dexa scan so having results from a test like this may help persuade doctors to undertake further investigations such as a dexa scan.
The Osentia osteoporosis testing kit is available excusively from Superdrug – www.superdrug.com or directly from Osentia at www.osentia.co.uk at a cost of £39.99.
Osentia clinical data
Osentia® is a clinically proven osteoporosis screening test that has been compared against both the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) bone scan and the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX®) diagnostic tool in a clinical trial of over 600 patients. The Fracture Risk Assessment Nail Correlation (FRAN), cross sectional study shows that the Osentia® screening test performed better and is more effective than the currently used NHS DXA standard for diagnosing osteoporosis.
Osentia® provided a clear improvement over and above DXA and FRAX for determining relative risk of fracture (p-value=0.009).A number of studies have investigated the use of Raman Spectroscopy for probing nail composition and structure, including analysing hydration levels, comparing finger and toe nails, comparing relating the structure and composition of keratins in nail and to other keratotic tissues and in analysing nails and claws from different species.
Here’s a quote from the National Osteoporosis Society on their thoughts of the Osentia test:
“There are a number of stories in the media today about the availability of an osteoporosis home screening test called Osentia.
Reacting to the availability of the new test, the National Osteoporosis Society's Clinical and Operations Director Fizz Thompson said: "The charity welcomes innovation in the field of osteoporosis and any product that can help to raise awareness of the impact that fractures can have on people’s lives is a useful addition to current practice.
"However, we believe there is not enough evidence at this time to show that this new technology is as accurate as visiting your GP, having a discussion about risk factors and being referred for a DXA scan if appropriate.
"As innovative as it is, it is too early to tell whether this new product can accurately identify people’s risk of breaking a bone as there are only small published clinical studies with fairly limited samples of people.
"We await further clinical trials and will watch with interest as more in-depth results are published."
You can find out more about your bone health and discover what factors increase your risk of fragile bones and fractures with our online quiz, Stop At One.”
You can also contact our Helpline on 0808 800 0035 or email@example.com.
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