Although the bones are hidden deep within the body, they are quite literally your own structure. Caring for your bones from childhood and throughout your adult years can pay off in better health as you age. Bone density tests can help to determine the condition of your bones, and allow early treatment of bone problems.
Understanding Bone Density
Bone cells die and are renewed in a continuous process known as bone remodeling. However, as the years pass, humans do not replace bone at a steady rate. At mid-adulthood, around the age of 35, resorption exceeds new replacement of bone cells, and the density of the bone thins. This is a normal process that occurs in all adults.
Problems of Thinning Bones
When the loss of bone cells increases at a rapid rate, osteoporosis may occur, a condition in which the bones become less dense, and may fracture easily. Small fractures in the spine can lead to posture problems and chronic pain. A Jacksonville FL clinic, First Coast Periodontics, P. A. says dental implants may not be successful in individual with thinning bones of the jaw as well, which is why so many resort to dentures later on.
Keeping Bones Healthy
Experts believe that bone density is 80 percent heredity and 20 percent due to lifestyle conditions. Older people can help to reduce their incidence of osteoporosis and bone fracture by following a few tips.
· Eat a healthy diet – A diet rich in calcium and other nutrients helps to build bone tissue.
· Exercise regularly – Staying active helps to build stronger bones. Weight training, in particular, is linked to healthier bone condition.
· Avoid alcohol and tobacco – Smoking and drinking alcohol contribute to bone loss. If you smoke, join a smoking cessation program. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day.
· Treat other health conditions – Some medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and Cushing’s disease can affect calcium absorption and can lead to bone loss.
· Be careful with medications – Some drugs can cause bone loss when used over a long period of time. Talk to your physician about the use of drugs such as prednisone, cortisone and dexamethasone, which can contribute to bone loss.
Bone Density Scans
Dual X-ray Absorptiometry scans, often called DEXA scan, allow physicians to measure the density of bones in a process that is much like a traditional x-ray. High-energy and low-energy beams pass through the person’s bone tissue, providing data that can be compared to healthy bone density. If osteoporosis is discovered, the physician may prescribe medications that help to build bone tissue.