Susie VanArsdalen: Osteoporosis Center

Susie VanArsdalen has always been healthy and active. At the age of 40, she was surprised to learn that she had the beginnings of osteoporosis.

Susie VanArsdalen has always been healthy and active. At the age of 40, she was surprised to learn that she had the beginnings of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones and makes them more prone to fracture. 

“I increased my calcium intake, tried to keep up an exercise routine and continued to have my bone density checked every few years,” Susie said, “but that wasn’t enough to stop the bone loss.”

Last year, when Susie turned 47, her family doctor referred her to the new Allegiance Osteoporosis Center, located across from the hospital. “From the moment I walked in, everyone was so welcoming to me. It’s a busy place, but they treated me like I was their first and only patient,” she recalled. 

The nurse practitioner, Leslie Thompson, gave Susie a DXA scan—a short and painless test that records bone density, or lack of it. And, after an evaluation from an endocrinologist, Dr. Qutob, Susie learned that she now has osteoporosis.

“It really scared me to think I could be prone to bone fractures at such a young age,” Susie said. “But, both Leslie and Dr. Qutob put me at ease by taking the time to explain the condition and how we could start reversing the damage.

Susie now does a daily self-injection to rebuild bone strength. “The needle is so thin that I can’t even see it without my glasses, so it doesn’t hurt at all,” she said. “It’s worth it to know I am actually doing something to improve my health.” 

Dr. Qutob and Leslie encouraged Susie to continue exercising regularly, because that also increases bone density and strength. So she makes sure to run on a treadmill or use the elliptical machine about four times a week. “I feel confident that the combination of medication and exercise will keep my bones strong and healthy for the rest of my life,” she said.

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