Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You can have it and not know it until it is too late. Is there any way to learn for certain whether you have or are at risk for osteoporosis? A bone density scanning test can reveal the state of your bones and determine if you suffer from loss of bone density. This quick, easy, and painless test is a must for everyone over 65 or those with additional risk factors of osteoporosis.
Most find out too late
Usually someone who suffers from osteoporosis finds out the hard way, by breaking their wrist or hip after a simple fall. A hug can lead to rib fractures; a twist can affect the spine. Bone fractures in the young are mildly inconvenient. Those same fractures in the elderly are devastating, resulting in loss of mobility and independence. There are recent studies indicating a woman (or man) over 40 who suffers from a debilitating fall is more likely to encounter severe health issues and a possible increase in death due to complications. The earlier osteoporosis is diagnosed the better to combat its toll on your body.
Screening your bones
A bone density test, sometimes referred to as a ‘bone densitometry’ is similar to an x-ray. Using DXA technology (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) a machine scans your bones to measure how much density they have. The bone density test can determine if there is mild bone loss which could lead to osteoporosis, or more advanced bone loss which means you already have osteoporosis.
Is it safe?
Unlike a traditional x-ray, a bone density screening is done while you are fully clothed. You lie back on a reclining chair so the test is rather comfortable. The test takes only a few minutes and is completely non –invasive while the machine moves you’re your body to ‘examine’ your bones. You won’t feel a thing! Worried about radiation? Bone density tests use very low levels of radiation and are very safe compared to those standard x-rays. Accuracy rates are generally in the 95 % - 97 % range, ensuring very high accuracy results.
Who should have a scan?
Bone density scans are highly recommended for women and men over 65, and for those who are younger and may be at increased risk for osteoporosis or have a history of the disease in their families. Roughly 1 of every 4 women over 50 and 1 of every 5 men over 70 will suffer from osteoporosis. A bone scan can help discover if your bones are at risk, helping you and your doctor to enact a plan to combat the effects of the disease. Your doctor can monitor your bones every year to see how they respond to treatment.
Talk to your health care professional about your lifestyle and risk factors for osteoporosis to see if you should undergo a bone density screening. Taking just a few minutes now to learn more about your bones will increase your chances of healthful aging.