Bone loss can sneak up on a person, increasing the risk for dangerous – even deadly – fractures, pain, and reduced quality of life. Simply put, a hip fracture in an older person can kill; not because of the break itself, but the downward spiral in health problems it often triggers. Especially for older adults, a fractured bone can mean being bedridden for an extended period of time. That’s why certain tests such as a bone density scan can help you get ahead of ravaging bone loss conditions such as osteoporosis.
The quest to identify osteoporosis early and get treatment started as soon as possible has led to widespread testing of bone mineral density (BMD), which is the key measure of an individual’s bone strength. It is recommended by the influential National Osteoporosis Foundation that one should be screened for osteoporosis beginning at age 65 for women, and 70 for men.
It is important to protect your bones. Though it’s wise to avoid tests and procedures you don’t need, it’s also important not to miss getting tested early to avoid a major decline in bone strength. Your doctor can help you figure out whether it makes sense for you to be tested for low bone density and how often it makes sense for you to be tested. According to The National Osteoporosis Foundation these factors put an individual at risk for bone loss:
· Being 50 or older
· Being female
· A family history of osteoporosis
· Low body-mass index (BMI)
· Loss of height
· Being sedentary and not exercising
· Not enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet
The single best thing anyone can do to protect bone health is to get tested early. There is no doubt that early detection saves lives. Being diagnosed and treated early will give you a chance to strengthen your bones, protect your overall bone health, and avoid further complications such as falls and fractures. Being treated as early as possible will most importantly preserve your strength and mobility.
What is a bone density scan?
A bone density scan (also called a DEXA scan) which is a diagnostic test used to measure the strength of an individual’s bones and the probability one has of potentially breaking a bone. A bone density scan uses a low-dose X-ray that takes about 10 minutes and is most commonly performed on the lower spine and hips.
Most people younger than 65 don’t need a DEXA scan unless they’re at increased risk of a fracture or osteoporosis. However, it wouldn’t hurt to get tested as early as possible, especially if one has a family history of osteoporosis. It is important to remember that you can prevent and treat weak bones before developing osteoporosis.
If you are not sure if you are at risk for osteoporosis, and if you think you may have the condition, Advanced Bone & Joint can help. For your individualized osteoporosis screening, call Advanced Bone & Joint at (636) 229-4222 or you can request an appointment online.