Who Should Undergo a Bone Density Test?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 10 million Americans are living with osteoporosis, and another 44 million have low bone density. What’s more, 54 million adults aged 50 and over are at risk of sustaining a fracture due to bone loss. 

Bone health isn’t just an important topic for older adults. Investing in your bone health now can protect your bones as you age. Losing a certain percentage of bone mass significantly increases your risk of breaking a bone. 

Here at the Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay, Dr. Jeffrey Miller specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. We offer bone density testing to check the health of your bones and determine whether you’ve started losing bone mass. If you have osteoporosis or are at risk for developing it, Dr. Miller creates a treatment plan to help protect your bones and prevent breaks. 

Osteoporosis basics

Your bones are living tissue that your body continuously replaces by breaking down old bone and building up new bone. The inside of healthy bones have small nooks that look like a honeycomb. 

When bone is broken down faster than the body replaces it, the spaces in the bone become bigger (porous). This makes them weak, soft, and at risk of breaking from everyday activities such as climbing stairs. While it can occur at any age, it’s more common as you get older and is especially common in women. 

Bone density testing overview

A bone density test is painless and takes just a few minutes. Dr. Miller uses a low-dose X-ray to measure how many grams of bone minerals are present in a segment of bone. The hip, spine, and forearm are the most common sites checked. Adults at risk of breaking a bone commonly fracture the hip, spine, pelvis, and thigh bone. The level of density of your bones estimates your risk for breaking a bone.

In the past, you wouldn't have been able to tell your bones were becoming brittle until you broke one. Today’s technology enables doctors to identify patients at risk for breaking a bone before it happens. This early warning system gives you the opportunity to take steps to protect your bones and keep them healthy as you age. 

Patients who should get a bone density test

A bone density test shows if you have normal bone density, low bone density (osteopenia), or osteoporosis. 

People who really need a bone density scan include women: 

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, caffeine intake,and vitamin deficiency can boost your risk for bone loss. Additionally, certain medications may raise the risk of low bone density. 

Steps to take if you have low bone mass

If you have low bone mass, Dr. Miller may recommend medication or lifestyle changes. The goal is to slow bone loss and lower the risk of breaking a bone. Staying active is important since weight-bearing physical activity, such as brisk walking, helps protect against bone loss. 

Boosting your intake of the bone-building mineral calcium along with vitamin D helps to slow bone loss. With proper care, you may be able to stop bone loss and help prevent fractures as you age.

If you’re at risk for low bone density, contact our office at 813-336-3793 or book your appointment online using our convenient scheduling tool.

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