What Is Bone Density Testing?
Get Answers to Your Questions About Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
Maybe you recently fell and broke a bone. Or maybe your doctor has recommended you undergo bone density testing to assess your baseline bone health. Either way, let’s explore what bone density testing is and why it matters.
Why Is Bone Density Testing Important?
Doctors use bone density testing to help determine if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia and if you are at risk for bone fractures. The test is quick, easy and noninvasive. It is usually performed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA/DEXA) scans. The low-density X-rays measure the amount of calcium and other minerals in a segment of your bones, usually your hips and spine. Low bone mineral density means your risk of fractures is higher and you may have osteoporosis or osteopenia.
What Is the Difference Between Osteoporosis and Osteopenia?
If you have osteoporosis, the honeycomb-like structures inside of your bones has become very porous, which makes you more vulnerable to fractures and breaks. Although osteopenia is not as serious as osteoporosis, this diagnosis still means your bone density is lower than normal. The good news is you can take steps to help prevent osteopenia from becoming osteoporosis.
Who Is at Risk for Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?
We all experience bone loss over time, starting at age 35. However, you are at greater risk if:
- You are a woman over age 65.
- You have a thinner, smaller frame.
- You have a history of poor nutrition.
- You do not live an active lifestyle.
- You smoke and/or drink alcohol
- You have experienced menopause & hormonal changes.
- You have thyroid disease.
- You use certain medications, such as steroids.
- You are of Caucasian or Asian ancestry.
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
If you are young and healthy, you probably don’t need a bone density test. But your risk for osteoporosis increases as you age because your bone density tends to decrease. Older women are more vulnerable than men. As a result, a bone density test is generally recommended for women 65 or older and men 70 and older. Of course, every situation is different—so you should discuss whether you need a bone density test with your doctor.
What Can I Do to Help Prevent Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?
You can’t control gender, age or genetics. However, there are some things you can do to prevent further bone loss and progression from osteopenia to osteoporosis. They include:
- Refraining from smoking.
- Limiting your alcohol consumption.
- Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Staying active, especially with weight-bearing exercises.
Are you concerned that you might have osteopenia or osteoporosis? At Kayal Orthopaedic Center, we can provide you with the testing and the answers you deserve. We perform DEXA scans on-site using a state-of-the-art GE Lunar Prodigy Bone Densitometry Machine. A DEXA scan generates a T-score that is used to classify your bone health as normal, osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Schedule an appointment by calling 844.777.0910 or by contacting us through our website.