For several years now our office has used an in-house DXA scan for bone density of the wrist. We strongly promote anyone over 25 to have their bone density checked. Much like everything else in this country, we wait until the crisis stage (post menopausal female) to check bone density because this is when we can begin to medicate. However, the problem begins much, much sooner.
The past decade has brought some pretty amazing insights into just how interactive our bone tissue is. We used to think of it as some inert tissue that our muscles and ligaments attached to in order to facilitate movement. We now know that bone plays an integral role in the immune system, in maintaining ideal body weight and in keeping diabetes at bay. Likewise, many other organ systems in the body play a role in bone health.
That means that bone can be a strong reflection of our overall health. That means that checking it early as yet another indicator of how healthy we are is important and yet underrated in medicine today.
It is a little frightening when we run bone density testing events and 1/2 to 2/3 of the patients we test under 45 have 3, 5, 10 or even 15% less bone density than they should have for their age. This means that osteoporosis will be certain decades later when the “guidelines” suggest this patient should have been screened.
A low score indicates that something is off with our health and we need to fix that. Vitamin D, exercise, an anti-diabetic lifestyle, gastrointestinal issues, stress… The list is quite long for what can negatively affect bone.
The bottom line? Get tested early. Don’t wait until you’re 55 or 60 whether you’re a male of female. The information could be lifesaving.