Osteoporosis is a disease more common in older women where your bones become thin and weak increasing your risk for fracture. Osteopenia is the stage before osteoporosis where your bones are starting to thin but aren’t as severe yet as osteoporosis
How do you test for Osteoporosis and what does it cost?
As there are no symptoms of osteoporosis, we screen for it with a bone density test or DXA scan. This is a specialized x-ray that measures the density of your bones in your spine and hip. It is covered for free by most insurance. Women ages 65 and older should be screened every 2-5 years with a bone density test. Men and women at increased risk for fracture should be screened before 65.
What are the risk factors?
Risk factors for osteoporosis include advanced age, family history of osteoporosis, smoking, low body weight, white or Asian race, and long term steroid use. The results of your DXA scan will give you a number called a T-score which represents your bone density compared to a healthy young adult. Anything above -1 is normal. Osteopenia ranges from -1 to -2.5. Osteoporosis is a T-score less than -2.5.
How do I treat Osteoporosis?
The best way to treat osteoporosis is to prevent it. All women should take calcium 1200mg a day and Vitamin D 1000 units a day starting before menopause to prevent osteoporosis. Another key thing is weight bearing exercise such as walking, climbing stairs or lifting weights. Walking five miles a week is a good place to start. Finally, you should quit smoking if this applies to you. In addition to these practices, if you have osteoporosis already there are medications that can be prescribed to prevent further bone loss. If you have any questions about osteoporosis, don’t hesitate to call or ask them at your next visit. We are here to help!