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How to check for low bone density

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How does a bone density test work?

A bone density test measures the mineral content and density of the bone. DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray absorptiometry) scans are the "gold standard" for many reasons.

A DEXA scan can detect osteopenia and osteoporosis. Bone scan results interpretation also looks at your individual body bone density trend, therefore predicting future fracture risk. The spine, arm, and hip bone density are routinely examined during diagnosis.

Portable testing is less exact than nonportable techniques because it only analyzes one bone location: the radius (one of the lower arm's two bones), wrist, fingers, or heel.  The DEXA scanner is a non-portable instrument that scans the entire body.

In additional, normal X-rays may reveal bone fragility, but it may be too late to cure. Bone densitometry testing such as that performed during a DEXA scan helps detect declining bone density and strength early, increasing treatment success.

Result of a bone density scan

A bone density test measures the mineral density of the bone (BMD). Your BMD has two norms: young healthy people (your T-score) and persons your age (your BMD, or Z-score).  

First, your BMD is compared to healthy 25-35-year-old men and women of your race and ethnicity. The standard deviation is the difference between your BMD and healthy young people (SD). This produces your T-rank. The T-score indicates the strength of the bone.

* According to the WHO, a T-score within one standard deviation (+1 or -1) of the young adult mean indicates normal bone density.

• Insufficient bone mass is defined as T-score -1 to -2.5 SD below the young adult mean. Your T-score is more than 2.5 SD below the young adult mean.

A BMD one standard deviation below normal increases the risk of bone fracture by double. Using this information, doctors can treat patients at high risk of bone fracture, preventing subsequent fractures. Severe osteoporosis is defined as a previous osteoporotic fracture with bone density less than 2.5 SD below the young adult mean.

First, your BMD is calculated and compared to the age-group average (Z-score). Your age, gender, race, height, and weight are used to calculate your Z-scores.

What are the advantages of knowing your bone density?

A bone density test for osteoporosis or osteopenia is performed to diagnose the disorders quickly so that treatment can begin. Early therapy helps prevent bone fractures. Broken bones from osteoporosis, especially in the elderly, can be fatal. Once osteoporosis is identified, it can be treated to improve or prevent additional deterioration.  

Partnering with a holistically minded longevity and wellness center such as Because Health will not only provide you with accurate bone density data, but you can both translate the figures into practical next steps to optimal health.

Dr. Lars Boman, Medical Director of Because Health, is a passionate advocate for dialogue between doctor and patient. “In the ‘old days’, at the beginning of my training, there were senior doctors who would speak to a patient, say ‘This is what the news is. This is what I'm going to order. And I'll see you in six months.’”

“That wasn't a partnership. That wasn't even education. That wasn't a conversation, it was an order that the patient had to follow. And now patients want, need somebody to explain it all. Tests provide diagnostics that will really answer the question, then we create a personal program for them.”

Getting a DEXA scan is the most accurate source of information about your bone density, and therefore your risk of weakening or fracture-prone bones. It is next-generation technology that allows you to begin your journey toward optimal health and longevity.

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