The Effects of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease that deteriorates bone tissue. Over time, bones become weak and brittle leading to fractures. As the body ages, it generates new bone tissue while eliminating old tissue. Therefore, bone mass increases as a person ages. Osteoporosis is directly linked to the amount of bone mass a person accumulates during their formulative years. The disease tends to affect women of post-menopausal age. According to reports, approximately 54 million Americans suffer from the disease.
What does osteoporosis do to the body?
Osteoporosis makes a person more susceptible to fractures in the hip, wrist, and spine region. Patients with osteoporosis suffer from
- Back pain
- Poor posture
- Height issues
The lowered bone density causes vertebrae fractures, which contributes to loss of height. People with osteoporosis have trouble walking and moving. Additionally, broken bones and fractures can lead to permanent pain or even death from complications. Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that causes many health issues. Without the proper treatment, the patient’s condition will continue to get worse.
Getting a BMD
BMD is an acronym that stands for, bone mineral density. Healthcare providers conduct this test to understand a person’s bone mass. Using the test, doctors determine if the patient has osteoporosis, the likelihood of fractures, and response to osteoporosis treatment. The most common type of BMD is a central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) which measures density in the spine. Another test, peripheral bone density, assesses the bone density in the wrist, hip, finger, and heel.
The test measures density on a scale of 1-2.5. One means bone density levels are normal and 2.5 means the person suffers from severe osteoporosis. People with low bone mass, called osteopenia, can implement certain lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Doctors recommend these patients change their diets to include calcium and Vitamin D rich food along with adding more physical activity to weekly routines. Jogging and walking are exercises that increase bone mass.
When should I take the test?
Doctors believe patients 65 years old and older should take a BMD. Patients with a history of low bone mass or fractures can take the test before age 65. Doctors often screen much earlier than 65 if there are indications that osteoporosis may be an issue.