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4 Reasons to Get a Bone Density Scan

Osteoporosis. It’s a word that pops up on TV commercials and advertisements warning that if certain risk and demographic factors apply to you, that you should be concerned about the density of your bones before breaking a hip or fracturing a spine. It’s a word, that if you are a postmenopausal woman or a man over 65, your healthcare provider has likely brought up in reference to your health. Perhaps you’re considering getting a bone density scan, or your doctor has recommended one for your specific needs. Whatever the circumstance may be, the question “Is a bone density scan the right option for me?” has likely come up in your thoughts at one point or another. Below is a list of four reasons why a scan may be the best option for you.

1. You fall under certain risk factors for developing osteoporosis. 

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, some groups of people need a bone density scan more than others. If you are a woman older than 65 or a man older than 70, a scan may be required by your doctor. Other risk factors of osteoporosis can include race, as Asian and Caucasian women are at a higher risk of losing bone density compared to others. Postmenopausal women are also more likely to develop osteoporosis due to a lack of estrogen in the body.

2. You’ve already suffered from a broken bone or fracture. 

If you break a bone after turning 50, there’s a strong possibility that osteoporosis could be the culprit. Broken bones from minor accidents, such as a fall, can also be a major indicator that something is wrong. The most common osteoporosis related injuries occur in the wrist, hip, and spine. If you sustain a broken bone in one of these areas, a bone density scan may be in order.

3. You’re a smoker or heavy drinker. 

If you are a heavy drinker or chronic smoker, then your risk of osteoporosis is higher than that of a non-smoker or drinker. While smoking is not directly linked to developing osteoporosis, certain behaviors and characteristics that go along with smoking do raise your risk. Some of these smoking induced traits include a smaller frame, earlier onset of menopause, and eating unhealthy. For more information, please visit this website.

4. Your posture is stooped or otherwise affected. 

Losing height or a suddenly worsening posture is also a reason to undergo a bone density scan. People suffering from osteoporosis will typically lose a 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch of their height within a year. One’s posture will also be affected. This loss in height and posture is often because of a fractured vertebra or weakened bone density, so if a fracture of the spine occurs or unexplained back pain, a bone density scan may be needed.

All in all, bone density scans are not for everyone. If you haven’t yet sustained a broken bone or don’t fall under certain risk factors, consult your doctor before making a final decision.