Pharmacy throws Kelowna, West Kelowna residents a bone (density screening clinic)

Many don't know that they have osteoporosis until the damage has been done.

With that in mind, the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy is doing its part to help local residents identify osteoporosis so they can know their risk of breaking bones before the fact.

From Feb. 28 to March 15, Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy locations in West Kelowna and Kelowna will be offering free bone density screening clinics.

According to pharmacist Paolo Sales, women, especially those who are post menopausal, should take advantage of the opportunity.

"In women—especially after menopause—the bone density will inevitably just keep going down. The lower it gets, the more at risk people are to get fractures," said Sales.

"The problem is, nobody knows that it's happening. You just suddenly notice you're shorter than you originally were or you're suddenly stooping more. Otherwise, there are no physical symptoms that are noticeable."

Sales explained that the screening is quick and painless.

"We offer a 15 to 30 minute screening (using) an ultrasound machine. We (use) it on the hand or the arm and then sound waves go through the skin, through the bone. The computer uses the amount of sound coming back to compute the bone density. It's very non-invasive."

Although women have the highest risk of getting osteoporosis, one in eight men over the age of 50 have the disease. In men, the underlying causes of osteoporotic bone loss are twofold: Declining levels of testosterone and insufficient calcium intake.

"Men get under diagnosed because the rates are much lower."

Sales also said that the peak bone density is reached during the teenage years.

"If you had poor calcium consumption, you didn't drink milk when you were young or you didn't go out for sports, (that) was your opportunity to build the most bone density. It slowly goes down from then."

Although the definitive schedule has not been set for when the ultrasound machine will be available at each location, Sales said they are accepting bookings now.

Space for the screenings is limited. To book an appointment, call 250-707-2952.

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