If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from osteoporosis, a bone density test can evaluate the current health of your bones.
When you have osteoporosis, your body is not able to sufficiently produce new bone material to make up for the natural loss of bone over time. The result is a weakening of bone matter, making you more prone to broken bones and the lengthened recovery period that follows.
People afflicted with osteoporosis or osteopenia (the beginning stages of osteoporosis) benefit from early detection and corrective treatment. Bone fractures are the most serious complication of osteoporosis, as broken hips in seniors often result in permanent disability or even death. If osteoporosis goes untreated, it can cause bone degradation so complete that a coughing fit may result in fractured ribs and vertebrae.
Obtaining a bone density test before injury occurs is the safest way to ensure the long-term health of your bones. Bone density testing is painless, takes less than 15 minutes, and can be done locally at a pharmacy with bone density testing equipment.
What Are the Warning Signs of Osteoporosis?
There are very few early warning signs of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis commonly affects the elderly population, particularly post-menopausal women. Symptoms of osteoporosis include:
- Height loss
- Back pain
- Stooped posture
- Easily fractured bones
Other factors like a family history of osteoporosis give you a greater risk of developing the condition. Osteoporosis can be caused by genetic predisposition, lack of calcium and vitamin D, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and low body weight.
If proper screening methods detect weakened bone matter, you should begin treatment as soon as possible to preserve the health of your bones.
What Is Bone Density Testing?
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends an annual bone density test for all women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70. A bi-annual exam is recommended for those with a family history of osteoporosis or a history of broken bones.
Bone density testing is completed using a central DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) machine and is the only way to correctly diagnose loss of bone density. The machine uses ultrasound technology to detect early changes in bone density. Bone density testing can evaluate the condition of your hip and spinal bones, which are the most vulnerable to severe and potentially life-threatening fractures.
Bone Density Testing Is Quick and Painless
Bone density testing is completely non-invasive. There is no need to undress, and the procedure can be completed in 15 minutes or less. If bone loss is detected, a printout will be provided to you so as that you may provide it to your physician. Your doctor will help you determine the best plan of action to rebuild your bone structure.
It is best to obtain your annual or bi-annual bone density test in the same location each time to create a more accurate comparison of your current and previous bone density tests. Smith-Caldwell has pharmacists trained in bone density testing who are ready to assist you. You can call ahead for an appointment, or schedule one online!
If you would like to have a bone density test in Arkansas, contact Smith-Caldwell Drug store at 501-392-5470 and take the first step toward fighting osteoporosis.