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Boost Your Bone Density

Boost Your Bone Density

In this article, we will explore various aspects of bone density, the importance of bone density tests, and what you can do to maintain healthy bones.  

What is bone density? 

Bone density measures the mineral content in your bones, determining their strength and ability to withstand stress. It's essential for maintaining healthy bones and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. 

Bone density is commonly measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), a non-invasive test that uses low-dose X-rays to measure mineral content, typically in the hip and spine.  

At Lake Charles Memorial, we want to educate our patients on the importance of maintaining optimal bone density to your overall wellness. If you haven’t already, speak to your primary care physician to see if you need to have a bone density test performed.  

What is bone density testing? 

If you are at least 65 year or older or a woman who has begun going through menopause, it is highly recommended that you have a bone density test performed. If you are a man over 50 years old, have a family history of osteoporosis, or medical conditions or taking medication that can affect bone health, you should speak to your primary care provider about a bone density test. Bone density tests are quick and painless x-rays that estimate how dense or how thick your bones are.  

There are several types of bone density tests available: 

  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA): The most common and accurate method, involving a low-dose X-ray to scan the hip, spine, or wrist. 

  • Quantitative ultrasound: A non-invasive test using sound waves to measure bone density in the heel, shinbone, or kneecap. 

  • Quantitative computed tomography (QCT): This test uses a CT scan to measure bone density in the spine or hip. 

Tests are painless and typically take anywhere from 10-30 minutes. A patient will lie on an exam table as the machine scans their body, so patients are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing and refrain from wearing any metal jewelry.  

The test will render a T-score, which compares your bone density to that of a healthy, young adult of your gender. Scores –1 or above means your bone density is normal. Score between –1 to –2.5 indicates a low bone density that may lead to osteoporosis. -2.5 and above indicate that you have osteoporosis.  

Maintain Healthy Bone Density 

A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle choices are key to promoting and maintaining strong bones.  

A balanced diet plays a crucial role in bone health. Include calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified cereals. Vitamin D is also important for calcium absorption, so incorporate fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods into your meals. Consuming enough protein is necessary for bone formation and repair, so include lean meats, beans, and nuts in your diet. 

Regular exercise is another key factor. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, running, and dancing, stimulate bone growth and strengthen bones. Strength training exercises, like lifting weights or using resistance bands, can also improve bone density. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. 

Be aware of lifestyle habits that can negatively impact bone density. Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with calcium absorption, while smoking can reduce estrogen levels and decrease bone density. Limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking are both beneficial for bone health. 

Remember, it's never too early or too late to start taking care of your bones. By implementing these prevention methods, considering medical treatments when necessary, and adopting healthy lifestyle changes, you can improve your bone density and maintain strong bones for years to come. 

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenman for primary care or to learn more about bone density, call 337.480.6800. 

Sources: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, WebMD, Mayo Clinic Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion