Health & Wellness Osteoporosis Over 50s Lifestyle

How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?

October 20, 2016
Osteoporosis How is it diagnosed?

Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because there are no symptoms, although there are risk factors we can look for.  It can only be diagnosed by undergoing a bone density test which is done before any bones are broken.  The test shows the density of our bones and the chance of breaking a bone.  As previously mentioned, as we age our bones become less dense and brittle and even a small bump can result in a fracture.

What is involved in a Bone Density Test?

The test itself is painless and is a scan that measures your bone density usually in your hip and spine.  You lie flat on a bed, fully clothed and the machine passes over you and usually takes 10-15 minutes.  This is a DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) machine and the test is non-invasive.   The National Osteoporosis Foundation, suggests that this type of test can ‘predict the future likelihood of breaks in other bones’ by providing a ‘T’ score.  The T-score is then combined with other risk factors to determine your actual risk of breaking a bone.

Who should have a Bone Density Test?

Anyone OVER 50 should have a bone density test – women and men.  Usually your G.P. will determine your risk factors before referring you for a test.  If you are on medication for Osteoporosis you will have this test usually every 1 – 2 years.

What are some of the risk factors to look for?

Osteoporosis Australia outlines some of the following risk factors to look for:

  • Women are at greater risk of developing Osteoporosis due to the decline of oestrogen during menopause.  Men also lose bone density as they age but their testostorone levels fall slower.
  • Family history
  • Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency
  • Weight – too thin or too overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Some medications
  • Low hormone levels
  • Overactive Thyroid

Osteoporosis Australia Director, Professor Peter Ebeling AO has produced a fact sheet.  The following link Are Your Bones in the Danger Zone  shows the risks categorised into Red Alert and Orange Alert and if you tick any of these you should consult your doctor.

Have you had a Bone Density Test?  Should you be discussing this with your doctor?

In the next article, I discuss Why Exercise is important in maintaining good bone strength

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10 Comments

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle October 24, 2016 at 21:15

    Very informative, Sue. If it is a matter of a few lifestyle changes then we should take them seriously and help ourselves to prevent osteoporosis. Your advice to have a test is good to let us know exactly where we are at with bone density. None of us want to lose our mobility.

    Kathleen

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 26, 2016 at 05:11

      Thanks Kathleen I didn’t realise you could have a bone density test from 50 I’ve never had one. Think I will make put that on my medical ‘to do’ list.

  • Reply Charlotte October 25, 2016 at 19:38

    This is such a great post, I honestly didn’t know much about osteoporosis and I didn’t realise you could get a test that can determine bone density, this would be so useful in taking preventative measures!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 26, 2016 at 05:17

      Thanks Charlotte I’m pleased you learned something to keep you healthy when you get older. Never too early or too late to learn.

  • Reply Michele October 26, 2016 at 03:54

    This is good information. All women should take charge of their health and be proactive about getting tested for things such as osteoporosis.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 26, 2016 at 05:18

      Yes Michele I’ve put a bone density test on my medical ‘to do’ list now that I know I can have one after 50. I think my exercise helps but still it is good to be checked out and given the all clear.

  • Reply Wendy October 26, 2016 at 08:39

    I’ve never had a bone density test, but several women in my husband’s immediate family have “pre-osteoporosis” (it has a name, but I can’t remember it). Any type of weight bearing exercise is helpful, even if you just carry hand weights while walking. Obviously, the more you do, the better, but every little bit helps.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 30, 2016 at 11:57

      I haven’t either Wendy but it is on my list of medical ‘to do’s’. I do weight bearing exercises and have done for a number of years so hopefully that will help.

  • Reply Sinziana Romanescu October 29, 2016 at 15:38

    This is very useful for the target audience! You share a lot of knowledge here.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 30, 2016 at 12:03

      Thanks Sinziana I hope it is helpful to everyone.

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