Why a Bone Density Test is so Important Especially for Women

Bone Density Test
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – MART PRODUCTION

Most people assume that older people, especially women around age 65 are the only ones that need to be more concerned about their bone health and a bone density test. On the contrary, you could have weak bones with osteopenia or/and osteoporosis at a much younger age at this very moment and not even be aware of it until the worst happens and you fall and break a bone or hip. Therefore, you should ask your doctor about getting a bone density test because it is more important than you realize unless you don’t mind possible hospitalization, an operation and spending many weeks in a rehabilitation facility.

You’re probably thinking that only clumsy people fall. After all, you feel perfectly fine without any bone or spine related pain or issues that could have clued you into the deteriorating state of your bones. However, osteopenia or/and osteoporosis don’t usually announce their presence until it’s too late and those types of accidents occur.

Typically, women are more prone to osteopenia or osteoporosis after menopause due to hormonal changes from low levels of estrogen. Furthermore, they could be premenopausal with missed monthly cycles that can cause the same low estrogen problem as well.

In fact, this trouble affects some races more than others. White and Asian women are the most likely to be affected whereas African American and Mexican American women are the least likely.

The reason that you already may have osteopenia or the more severe form of osteoporosis can be more surprising. Did you know that dieting to extremes or yo-yo dieting can also increase your risk for bone fractures? You need a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D as well as protein that started from your early years and continues through the rest of your life.

Something else that may shock you is that certain medications can weaken your bones to cause an early onset of osteopenia or/and osteroporosis. For instance, you may have allergies and asthma and need to take cortisone or prednisone or even a cortisone injection due to arthritis and pain in the joints. If you have a skin condition with a severe rash, swelling or itching, a corticosteroid cream such as triamcinolone may be prescribed, which can affect you the same way. Though these steroids are taken for a short period at a time, they also are glucocorticoid drugs that can also cause this problem.

Your body build also has something to do with bone density. If you’re small-boned, you could be more likely to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis compared to larger-boned women.

If you’re usually sitting all day at work for a majority of your day, your body responds and not in a way that you’ll welcome. You could be a risk for bone loss and repetitive motion injury that can cause stress fractures in the bones.

Excessive drinking or smoking is never a good thing if you value your health. Lifestyle habits need to change and here are some ways to improve bone strength.

A bone density test, otherwise called a DXA scan measures the mineral content of the bones. Most times, doctors order one if you have arthritis or are getting up in years. Though doctors don’t typically press you to test for bone density like they do for a colonoscopy, it is your benefit to be your own advocate and ask for one. You may not like to hear the results, but prevention and medication could help strengthen the bones and avoid all the pain and hospitalization.

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