10 reasons to test your bone health
1. Women Over the Age of 65
2.Menopausal Women With Low Body Weight
3.Menopausal Women With Disease, Condition, or Medication With Bone Loss Risk
4.Men over the Age of 70
5. Men under 70 with low body weight
6. Men under the age of 70 with Disease, Condition, or Medication with Bone Loss Risk
7. To Consider medication for bone health
8. To monitor bone health treatment
9.Adults with a fragility fracture
10. Women during perimenopause to monitor rate of bone loss
The most accurate determination of how strong your bones are is to determine both the structure and the thickness. But since we cannot determine the internal structure we measure bone bone strength, and therefore bone health by the bone density (BMD) test, which is a test of the thickness of your bones in critical areas. The test itself is quick, painless and accurate. It is well covered by insurance, but also very affordable for those with high out of pocket payment insurance plans. ;The bone test itself is called bone densitometry testing, or DXA. DXA tests give you a score that tells you how similar you are to women your own age, called the Z score, and then a T-score measurement of bone strength which compares you to young adults and predicts your risk of fracture. There is actually no specific number on your bone test that is completely “safe” from fracture, but the denser your bones on this test the less likely it is that you will fracture. Also look at the numbers that give a percentage of change over a 2-5 year period of time. the weakest bones are associated with measurements that show bone lost is proceeding rapidly, even if the scores are still in the healthy range. Women in pregnancy can lose 3-5% of their bone, if you breast feed you can lose 10% of your bone (but delivery and stopping breastfeeding triggers rapid re-growth), in menopause women will lose 2-4% of their bone per year, and as women get older they will lose about 1-2% of bone per year. Treatments can halt or dramatically slow these numbers.
Osteoporosis is compromised bone strength predisposing an individual to fractures. Bones grow, reform, and re-grow, at all stages of our lives keeping them strong and supple enough to be our skeletal support, but not be brittle. When we talk of bone health we are talking about not only the strength, but the character as well. Some women with back fractures will have pain, but often there is no significant symptom at all. Most crippling and deforming vertebral fractures are usually silent, and would have to be detected by special x-ray tests.
There are however quick at home tests for you. If your spine is healthy then your arm span should equal your height, but your arm span measurement greater than your height? Yes, Michael Phelps was born this way with those butterfly swimming long arms, but for many of us we were born with the arms span equal to our height. If you now have that ratio changed. it means there maybe osteoporotic fractures of the spine causing wedging that leads to the curved and crumpled back posture. Try sitting on the floor and then stand, without using arms, and then balance separately on each foot. Bad balance may be a sign of bone issues as well.
Other risks for osteoporosis exist. Those with low vitamin D in their diet are more likely to have weaker bones. And now it has been shown that those who consume a Mediterranean diet have healthier bones!