Bone density is a crucial aspect of our overall health, particularly as we age. Here’s everything you need to know about bone density, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to maintain healthy bones.
What is Bone Density?
Bone density refers to the amount of mineral density and calcium stored in our bones. It is a measure of bone strength and an important indicator of our musculoskeletal health. A higher bone density indicates a greater amount of minerals and calcium in the bones, which makes them stronger and less prone to fractures.
Why is Bone Density Important?
Maintaining healthy bone density is important for several reasons. Firstly, it reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, making them more prone to fractures. Secondly, healthy bone density can help prevent falls and fractures, which can have serious consequences, especially in older adults. Thirdly, strong bones are important for overall musculoskeletal health, as they provide support for the body and help with movement and mobility.
How to Check for Bone Density?
When it comes to checking your bone density, there are a few different methods available. The most common and accurate method is a DXA scan, which stands for dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. This type of scan uses low-dose x-rays to measure the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones, providing an accurate assessment of bone density.
During a DXA scan, you will lie down on a table while the scanner passes over your body, typically focusing on your hip and spine. The scan is quick and painless, and you will not need to do anything to prepare for it. The results of the scan are usually available within a few days, and your doctor can interpret them to determine your risk for osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions.
How to Maintain Healthy Bone Density
Maintaining healthy bone density is essential for overall musculoskeletal health. Here are some ways to keep your bones healthy and strong:
- Consume a calcium-rich diet: Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. Foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, and fish are excellent sources of calcium.
- Get enough vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Spending time outdoors and consuming vitamin D-rich foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products can help maintain healthy vitamin D levels.
- Engage in weight-bearing exercises: Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and strength training, can help build and maintain healthy bone density.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can weaken bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Get regular bone density screenings: Regular bone density screenings can help identify any changes in bone density and allow for early intervention and treatment if necessary.
Maintaining healthy bones is an essential part of overall health and wellbeing. Bone density plays a critical role in preventing osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. Getting a bone density scan is a simple and non-invasive way to measure bone density and assess your risk for osteoporosis. If you are concerned about your bone health, talk to your doctor about getting a bone density scan. By taking steps to maintain healthy bones, such as engaging in weight-bearing exercise, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, you can help prevent bone loss and maintain strong and healthy bones throughout your life. Want to check your bone density? Call the Asian Bone, Muscle, and Joint Institute at (02) 8-771-9000 local 8053.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. (2021). Bone Density Exam/Testing. https://www.nof.org/patients/diagnosis-information/bone-density-examtesting/
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Bone density test. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-density-test/about/pac-20385273
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2021). Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/bone-mass
- American Academy of Family Physicians. (2020). Osteoporosis. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2020/0501/p521.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Preventing Falls. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html