Testing Bone Density

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 03/27 2014 06:08PM

Updated 03/27 2014 06:10PM

The risk of osteoporosis can grow as we age. In the past the only way to know if you were at risk was to break a bone. But now - tests can gauge the danger and help jumpstart treatment. 

"Your bone density is how dense your bones are. As you age, as you go through time, your body is contantly building bone and reabsorbing bone. And that's just the natural process and as we get older, different things happen and your body can be reabsorbing more bone than it is building." Wendy Chrisenbery is the Supervisor of the Freeman Women's Pavilion. She says testing for bone density can help a patient decide if it's time to start a preventive treatment. "It determines if you're at risk for a fracture. There is a scale that it puts you into whether you're in a normal bone density for your age. Whether you're headed in the wrong direction.  And then it puts you in to osteoporosis."

Regular testing is recommended for women 65 and older and men 70 and up. That could start earlier depending on risk factors. Chrisenbery adds, "If you are small built, that puts you at increased risk. If you've been inactive, if you've taken certain medications that make you susceptible, those are all risk factors. Once you get to be post menopausal, you should look into a bone density test."

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