According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of four adults over the age of 65 falls each year. One out of five of these falls results in serious injury such as broken bones. Bone health is very important, and a bone density test is the best way to determine your bone health.
What is bone density testing?
Bone density refers to the amount of minerals contained in a bone, or how solid a bone is. The higher the concentration of minerals, the higher your bone density, and the more solid your bones. Denser bones are less susceptible to fractures.
A bone density test measures the concentration of minerals in your bones using x-rays. Bone density testing is typically used to assess risk for bone fractures, diagnose osteoporosis, or diagnose other bone conditions.
A bone density test may compare your bone mass to the ideal bone mass of a healthy person of the same age and sex. Bone density tests may also give you a t-score rating. Your T-score is how your bone density compares to the ideal bone density of healthy 30-year old adult. A t-score places you in one of four levels of bone density:
- Low bone mass
- Severe osteoporosis
Why is bone density testing important?
Your bone health is important to your overall health, and bone health becomes increasingly important as you age. You lose bone mass as you age, which means that you’re more likely to suffer bone injuries. You can’t assume that just because you’ve never broken a bone that you have strong and healthy bones. Bones can be brittle or prone to fracture without an actual fracture occurring.
If you wait until you’ve broken a bone to detect osteoporosis, it’s often too late.Osteoporosis can be debilitating if left untreated. Bone density testing is a good way to detect bone loss early enough to treat or prevent osteoporosis.
Bone density testing can help your physician determine which prevention or treatment options are right for you.
Who needs a bone density test?
The United States Preventative Task Force recommends all women over 65 years of age receive bone density testing. Woman typically have lower bone mass than men, and typically lose more bone mass than men. Men usually reach peak bone mass two years after women, and lose 25% of their peak bone whereas women lose one-third of their peak bone mass. The U.S. Preventative Task Force does not have guidelines for when men should receive bone density testing, but people at a high risk of serious bone loss should have a bone density test.
Here are some factors that could increase your risk of serious bone loss
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Loss of height
- Bone fracture in a minor accident
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Drinking alcohol in excess
- Having disorders associated with osteoporosis
- Having rheumatoid arthritis
Bone loss occurs in everybody as they age. Sometimes a change in life style can help prevent bone loss. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can help prevent bone loss, as can strengthening or weight bearing exercises. Of course making these changes isn’t always enough, especially once excessive bone loss has occurred.
Ask your doctor for a referral for bone density testing. It’s quick and painless. MANA offers bone density testing at the MANA Imaging facility inside Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic. Same day and next day bone density test appointments are available.