Everyone has an individual genetic potential for bone mass and strength. Unfortunately, bone strength declines with age. For women, the bones begin to lose strength during menopause. Many women, and men too, develop a disease of the skeletal system known as osteoporosis.
A bone density test is mainly done to look for osteoporosis (thin, weak bones) and osteopenia (decreased bone mass) so that these problems can be treated as soon as possible. Early treatment helps to prevent bone fractures. The complications of broken bones related to osteoporosis are often severe, particularly in the elderly. The earlier osteoporosis can be diagnosed, the sooner treatment can be started to improve the condition and/or keep it from getting worse.
A bone density testing may be used to:
- Confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis if you have already had a bone fracture
- Predict your chances of fracturing a bone in the future
- Determine your rate of bone loss
- See if treatment is working
You should ask your healthcare provider if it’s time to “check in with your bones.” He or she can explain the test, which is painless, and also make a referral to Outer Banks Health for your bone density test.