As we get older, it becomes even more crucial to take care of our bodies and take preventative health measures. It’s all too often that we don’t give much thought to our health and how our body functions until something goes wrong. For example, you probably don’t consider your bone health until you experience a break or fracture, which could be an indication of a more serious condition like osteoporosis. That’s why bone density tests are an important part of a comprehensive health check-in.
What Is A Bone Density Test?
A bone density test is a measurement of how much mineral, such as calcium, you have in your bones. DEXA is a non-invasive test to measure bone density that uses a small amount of radiation. DEXA scans can determine your risk of bone deterioration, aid in osteoporosis diagnosis before you experience a serious break, and monitor the effectiveness of osteoporosis treatments.
How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
There are 3 ways that osteoporosis can be diagnosed. The first is by measuring bone mineral density with a DEXA scan. A normal T-score is 0, and the more negative the number, the weaker your bones are. A T-score of -2.5 or below indicates osteoporosis. Fractures are another way to confirm an osteoporosis diagnosis. If you are over the age of 50 and have had a fracture of the spine, hip, wrist, rib, or pelvis, then you may have osteoporosis.
The final form of osteoporosis diagnosis is FRAX, a fracture risk calculator included in DEXA software. Using basic information about your body, FRAX calculates the chances of you having different types of fractures in the next 10 years. If your probability of a major fracture (meaning a fracture is 20% or more, then a diagnosis of osteoporosis can be made.
DEXA Scans for Osteoporosis Diagnosis
Your doctor may recommend a DEXA scan if you have multiple risk factors for osteoporosis or fractures. Risk factors include a family history of osteoporosis, frequent falling, vitamin D deficiency, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, malabsorption, and some medications. If you are over the age of 50 and have broken a bone, you should have a bone density test.
DEXA scans are also used to track bone health changes over time and monitor your response to treatment. Medications, sticking to a healthy diet, and weight-bearing exercise can help strengthen bones and prevent bone loss. Don’t wait until you suffer an injury to assess your risk. Take action to support your bone health and schedule a DEXA scan.