As we grow older, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases. But with the help of bone mineral density testing, we can help detect osteoporosis before you develop symptoms. With this information, you and your doctor can develop a plan to minimize further bone loss and even increase your bone health.
A Bone Mineral Density test is a low dose x-ray scan used to measure bone density. It emits much less radiation than a chest x-ray and can help determine if you are at risk for a fracture or have osteoporosis.
It is a quick painless and noninvasive exam. A Bone Density scan usually takes about 15 minutes.
A Bone Density is not usually requested until age 50 unless you fall into a high risk category.
In Alberta, Bone Density is a physician ordered exam and is covered by Alberta Health Care once every 2 years after age 50. Your first BD scan is your baseline and if any follow-ups are needed that will be determined after your baseline scan. Follow up scans are dependent on your results and your personal medical history (your health issues/ your medication use/your fracture history/ your life style). Your doctor can help you determine if BMD is appropriate for you.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. The inside of your bones has a honeycomb appearance and osteoporosis over time will cause these little holes to grow larger, thinning out the connecting, stabilizing bone structure. This can lead to an increased risk of fracture.
Known as the “silent thief”, bone deterioration can occur over a number of years without presenting any symptoms. Unfortunately, if detected at the time of a break, the disease is already fairly advanced. The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis are in the hip, spine, wrist, and shoulder.
Osteoporosis Canada is an excellent resource on Osteoporosis. Informative, up-to-date, and filled with excellent ideas on diet, exercise, and events for the osteoporotic person.
No single cause for osteoporosis has been identified. But a personal history of the following conditions can be indicators for osteoporosis:
Women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Potential risk factors include: