David Lenten

At the age of only 47 David Lenten suffered a serious osteoporotic hip fracture resulting from a minor fall in his own kitchen.  The fracture caused David to be away from his job for nine months.

Today, because of osteoporosis, David can’t do many of the things he used to do. Here David tells his story:

“In 1998, I had two falls in the space of three or four days. Following the first fall I had some difficulty walking. On the day of the fall I went back to work, came home, and was standing in the kitchen when one of the kids accidentally walked into me and I fell on the floor. I couldn’t move this time and my wife called for an ambulance - it actually took the ambulance an hour to arrive. It was found that I had fractured my neck of femur (part of the hip). It was a Class 4 fracture, which means that the bones fell apart. The following day I was transferred to another hospital and had an emergency operation to fix my fracture. I had a dynamic hip screw inserted into my hip. I was off work for about nine months.

My doctor was concerned and he recommended a DXA scan. The scan showed that I had osteoporosis in my hip, my neck of femur, and osteopenia in my spine. I was quite upset when I found out I had osteoporosis.

© Gilberto Lontro

Now, I’m very conscious never to fall. I always wear shoes in the house, never slippers, and I’m very wary when going out in the winter if it’s icy or it’s snowing.

I go to the gym on a regular basis, but I am not able to walk as fast as I could, because I get pain in my hip. I can’t run or take the dogs out for a fast run. I can’t do heavy lifting and I can’t do as many things in the garden as I’d like to do. I’ve got to be careful when I drive sometimes and I don’t like to be in traffic jams because my hip begins to hurt. I don’t like to sit down for too long. So there are things that affect me but I can deal with them most of the time. Sometimes I’m in pain, sometimes I’m not. And for me it is important to do a lot of exercise because about 5 years ago when I wasn’t able to do to the gym for about six months, I lost my fitness levels and I wasn’t as fit as I used to be.

So it’s important for me to keep up and ensure that I do all my exercises in the gym which helps keep osteoporosis away. I do a few minutes on the treadmill, not fast, and then I do light presses. I do exercises for my hips and then I do half an hour on the bike. When I do push myself to quite an extreme my heart rate goes to 185, and I’m quite shattered afterwards, but that helps me stay fit. I’m very, very self-disciplined. I know I have to go to the gym twice a week, so I don’t need the encouragement because I always go.  I know that it’s not just for today, it’s for 20-30 years’ time. I want to ensure that I’m able to do things in the future.

© Gilberto Lontro

For me it was surprising to have osteoporosis.  I never smoked, I drank only small quantities of alcohol and I used to do a lot of exercise, including running…so I wasn’t a typical candidate. But being a bit on the thinner side you are vulnerable to actually fracturing bones if you have a fall.  And that’s one of the reasons why I go to the gym now – to build up muscle.

About three years ago I requested a specialist consultation because I wanted to know why at the age of 47 I had osteoporosis. So I went through various tests. You know, your bone density peaks when you’re about 30 and then it slowly goes down. I don’t think I actually peaked at 30 for a normal man and therefore my bone density thinned and I got osteoporosis.

When I saw the specialist he recognized that because I have several pints of milks a day, he didn’t think I needed more calcium and he recommended that as long as I’m exposed to enough sunlight in the summer I don’t need any vitamin D supplements. So about three years ago I stopped taking any supplements. “

David is an active member of the UK’s National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) and attends regular support group meetings at which osteoporosis experts, nurse specialists and fracture specialists provide the latest information about osteoporosis and its treatment. It’s also a good way to meet other patients who talk about their own experiences with osteoporosis.  David finds that the NOS meetings help him keep up to date with all the changes and he now knows a lot about osteoporosis and is in a position to help others.

He advises people to take action for prevention:

“ I think people need to change their lifestyles to ensure they get sufficient calcium and they need to ensure they get enough sunlight in the summer. If you have a fracture it’s important that the hospital assesses that fracture to see if it could be the result of osteoporosis. “