Bone mass decreases as you age. The lower your bone mass, the greater your risk for osteoporosis and for bone fractures. Being proactive about your health means taking measures before there is a problem. A bone density test can determine whether you have normal bone density, or if you are at a higher risk for bone fractures.
What is normal bone density?
Bone density tests measure how solid or dense your bones are using a T-score. Your T-score compares your bone mass to the bone mass of an average healthy 30 year old adult. Higher T-scores mean higher bone density.
- A T-score higher than -1 indicates normal bone density
- T-scores between -1.1 and higher than -2.4 indicate low bone density, or osteopenia
- A T-score of -2.5 or less is a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Low bone density increases your risk for bone fractures
People with osteopenia, or low bone density, and osteoporosis are at a higher risk for bone fractures. More than 10 million people have osteoporosis, and roughly 34 million people are at risk for osteopenia, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Osteoporosis is often diagnosed after a bone fracture occurs, however. Breaking a bone is a painful and frustrating experience. Recovering from a broken bone takes several weeks or months, and sometimes requires surgery.
Since low bone density increases a person’s risk for breaking a bone, it’s important to know whether or not you have low bone density. Learning your risk for bone fractures can help you make the necessary adjustments to stay healthy and prevent injury.
A bone density test measures your bone mass and helps determines your risk for bone fractures before you break a bone
Is a bone density test right for you?
The effects of osteoporosis cannot be reversed. People typically achieve peak bone mass around age 30, and by age 40 bone tissues die faster than the body can produce new bone tissues. Bone loss is a normal part of aging, but severe bone loss can be a serious problem that’s difficult to detect.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density tests for women older than 65, men older than 70, men and women who break a bone after 50, menopausal women with risk factors, postmenopausal women under 65 with risk factors, men between the ages 50 and 69 with risk factors.
Talk to your primary care physician if you have questions about bone density, or if you fit in with any of the groups mentioned above. Your doctor may refer you to an imaging specialist for a bone density test. MANA Imaging and MRI offers the best medical imaging services in Northwest Arkansas.