As we age, our health gets worse and the list of medical tests we need to determine our current condition of health grows longer and longer. At times we tend to skip our tests because of our busy frame of mind, or because we think that we do not need them. When it comes to a bone density test, one should get the test done every few years. A bone density test is vital in determining the strength of our bones. The test is also called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scan. It helps us determine if we are suffering from any bone loss that can lead to disabilities and fractures in the future, giving us an overview of our overall bone health. Bone density and bone health tests should not be skipped as they can help us determine the condition of our bones. Most men under the age of 70 and women under the age of 65 do not require the test, but this does not mean we should skip it altogether. Here is all one needs to know about the bone density test and why one should get it done today.
What is a Bone density Test?
A bone density test enables doctors to diagnose brittle bones and help us seek appropriate treatment measures. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become so weak that they are at the point of breaking. A bone density test is used to determine the risk of the above-mentioned disease and fractures. It also enables doctors to put a treatment plan in place for the underlying condition.
How is a Bone Density Test Performed?
A bone density test is a painless and simple procedure. A patient is made to lie on a padded table with an X-ray generator positioned right underneath the patient, and an imaging device just above. The device passes over the hip and spine in a slow and steady manner and generates images on an attached computer monitor. While the test may seem complicated, it is usually completed within 10 to 30 minutes and is quite easy to perform. It is necessary to get a bone density test done every few years to stay on the safe side irrespective of how good or bad one’s bone health is.
When Should One Start Taking a Bone Density Test?
While it is not necessary for men aged below 70 and women aged below 65 to take the test, it is a precaution one must take to ensure that one does not suffer from a condition related to bone density damage in the near future. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a bone density test is recommended for men aged above 70 and women aged above 65, or if one ends up with a fracture after the age of 50. One may also consider taking the test if one is at a risk of osteoporosis or if one has suffered from a diminution of height ranging up to 4 cm after the onset of menopause (when it comes to women). Whatever be the case, getting a bone density test is recommended irrespective of age as one’s health comes first and one never knows when conditions may turn wayward.
How Often Should One Get a Bone Density Test Done?
While there is no strict limit to getting a bone density test performed, one should get tested at least once every 2 to 3 years. If one has started a new treatment plan for osteoporosis, one should get a bone density test done within a year of starting the course of treatment. In fact, it should be done as frequently as possible to determine the extent of damage to the bones.
How to Keep One’s Bones Healthy?
One can certainly try to ensure that bone health is at its optimum best. Smoking and drinking should be avoided as these negatively impact one’s health. One should try to get as much vitamin D and calcium in the diet as possible and maintain a healthy weight. One should also exercise on a daily basis.
Most men under the age of 70 and women under the age of 65 do not require the test at all. Most people under the above-mentioned age group do not suffer from bone loss or mild bone loss. While their risk of breaking a bone is low, this does not mean that they should not take a bone density test every few years. Exercising regularly and getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium decrease the chances of bone damage. While testing the condition of bones every once in a while is a necessity, one should follow a healthy lifestyle to ensure that there is no bone loss and the bones are in a healthy condition too.