Healthy bones are as important to our survival as the air we breathe. They protect our vital organs and provide the structural support that make us who we are. While most of us tend to think of our bones as hard, lifeless structures, they are actually made up of vital living tissue that is constantly changing. Throughout our lives, old bone is naturally removed and new bone forms to take its place.
In early childhood we begin to build bone mass. With proper diet and exercise, our bones will store the calcium essential for bone density and strength. By about age 20, most of us have acquired 98% of our bone mass. After age 30, bone is removed faster than it forms. If bone removal occurs too quickly or replacement too slowly, over time bones will become weak and osteoporosis may result.
Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a very serious disease in which bones are so weak they can break with a simple bump or fall. Fractures most often occur in the wrist, hip, and spine and can lead to permanent disability.
Osteoporosis frequently has no symptoms at all until significant bone loss has already occurred. Fortunately, there are many new treatment options which have proven effective in slowing and even stopping the progression of osteoporosis. Diagnosing bone loss early can have a significant impact on the quality of life for the osteoporosis patient.
A Bone Mineral Density (BMD) scan is the most cost effective and accurate way to determine your bone density and risk for osteoporosis. BMD at EPIC Imaging is a quick, simple and painless procedure to:
The technical term for the technology used at EPIC is Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA. It is just another name for a BMD scan. A DEXA scan takes just minutes to perform. Specialized x-ray technology obtains focused images of the hip and lower spine. This is the area where osteoporotic fractures occur most often. These images are sent directly to a computer that calculates the amount of bone mineral present and compares your bone density to national measurement standards. A profile is generated detailing your level of bone loss and potential risk for bone fractures. This is commonly called a T-score.
Who should be tested
How common is osteoporosis?
In the U.S., 10 million individuals are estimated to have the disease and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass placing them at increased risk for developing the disease. Those two numbers combined represent 55% of the adult population over 50 years of age in this country. Caucasian and Asian American women are at particular risk.
Are you at risk?
Osteoporosis can affect anyone but post-menopausal women are at highest risk. At menopause, women begin to lose bone rapidly due to a sharp decline in estrogen, a hormone which has a protective effect on bone. While it is perfectly normal to lose bone mass as you age, it is not normal to develop osteoporosis.
The following risk factors increase your chances of developing osteoporosis:
What you can do
The best defense against osteoporosis is to build healthy bones when you are young. Many factors influence bone growth. To help your body build strong bones: