• 6 months ago

    Do I need to get a bone density test?

    I'm nearing menopause age and am wondering if I should be asking my doctor about getting a bone density test. Or is this something that they just schedule when the time is right? I know that menopause can speed up bone loss and I want to catch any problems that I might have in the beginning so I can do something about it. I definitely don't want to wait until I break a bone. Are there other things I should be asking my doctor about now?

Responses

  • 6 months ago

    RE: Do I need to get a bone density test?

    Hi I'm glad to hear that you are thinking about your future health and are asking questions about how to best prepare and interact with your doctor. This article has some really good information about bone density tests that you may find helpful: http://wb.md/2d0rHUo

    It talks about who should get a bone density test, what types of bone density tests may be available to you, and insurance coverage questions you may need to consider. The article does list postmenopausal women below the age of 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis and women with medical conditions associated with osteoporosis among those who should consider bone density testing.

    Here is some more information about bone density tests that you may also be interested in: http://wb.md/2deqgHp

    As the article above says, knowing the strength of your bones can help your doctor recommend prevention steps and any other necessary treatment, so I think it would be a good idea to bring up the idea of getting a bone density test at your next appointment and see what your doctors thoughts are on the subject.

    I hope you'll check back in soon!
      • 5 months ago
        Thanks! I will take a look at those articles. I don't think I currently have any risk factors (I'll have to read to find out), but I think I'll talk with my doctor at an unrelated appointment I have coming up about steps I should be taking now. Thanks again!
  • 5 months ago

    RE: Do I need to get a bone density test?

    You're smart to be thinking about being tested. Normally you wouldn't have a test until after you've completed menopause (one year without periods) and are not on hormone therapy - unless....you have another risk factor, like long term steroid use or a history of nontraumatic fracture.

    What you could do barring any other risk factors, is to ask your doctor about having the ultrasound heel test. It's not diagnostic but is designed to test those women aged 40-64 who don't present with any risk factors for fracturing. It is a simple test that uses ultrasound to check your heel. If your reading is below -1.0, that is a reimbursable reason to have the complete bone density test or DXA. The ultrasound screening test is something that you would do only once in your lifetime. It is not formulated to measure change or accurately give you follow up information.

    You could also ask your doctor to have your Vit D levels checked. If it is in the normal range, you should take about 1000-2000 IU each day. If it is low (and most people have a low result) he will probably prescribe a booster dose of 50,000 IU for about 12 weeks, then maintain with 2000 IU/day.

    You should be consuming 1200 mg of calcium each day. The body can only process about 500-600 mg at a time so spread it out. Check your labels carefully if taking a calcium supplement. Some, like Citracal, require two pills as a dose, others only one.

    Also food labels should be read as dropping the % and adding a zero. For example - if your OJ says 35% calcium - that's 350 mg. If bread is 10% per slice, that's 100 mg.

    Strive for 4 hours a day on your feet. We advise all our patients to avoid movements that require bending forward at the waist or side to side twisting of the spine. These repetitive movements can cause the tiny honeycomb bones within the spine to break if your bone density is low, resulting in a compression fracture over time.

    Hope this answers your question.
      • 5 months ago
        Thanks! To my knowledge I don't have any risk factors for osteoporosis (other than the menopausal age). I think I will bring up the heel test at an doctor appointment for something unrelated I have coming up. Thanks for suggesting that. I am a vegetarian so my doctor does currently have me on vitamin D, b12, and calcium supplements. I will have to talk to her to see if my doses need to be adjusted. Thanks again!
  • 1 month ago

    RE: Do I need to get a bone density test?

    I have had osteoporosis diagnosed via bone density tests since my 30's. I took calcium and other drugs (per dr) and only got worse over many years UNTIL I changed my diet (now healthy vegan food), gave up the drugs, exercise every day, get enough sleep, and have little stress. I get calcium from my diet (dark leafy greens are great), a little fish (not totally vegan), and tons of colorful vegetables. I take D3 (5,000 IU), K2, and magnesium (all important for bones). I stopped getting bone density tests -- keep in mind this test was created by the pharmaceutical companies to make money and sell their drugs. I am now almost 72 years old and have never been healthier or better since I gave up the dr. orders.
      • 1 month ago
        Just curious. You're 72 now and have been diagnosed via bone density testing since your 30's - what kind of testing? To my knowledge, and I've been doing bone density testing for 21 years, it wasn't available 40 years ago. Also, unless you had an early menopause (before age 40, and you very well may have) no diagnosis of osteoporosis is given. What kind of drugs did the doctor have you on that you gave up? Is it possible that your bones have been healthy all along since your testing was so long ago and testing has evolved since then? I don't think I've ever encountered anyone who was tested so long ago and given a diagnosis at an early age. I'd really like to know more about it. If you've not had a fracture and are healthy now, I'm leaning towards the healthy bones theory. Congrats to you