According to the National Library of Medicine, Bone density refers to the amount of mineral per square centimeter of Bone. This is the definition used in clinical practice. It may also sometimes refer to the concentration of carbonated hydroxyapatite, the inorganic component of bone.
Why is it important?
The importance of bone density can be expressed in the importance of bone itself. Our bones are highly rigid organs that function to maintain posture, aid in locomotion, and protect soft vital organs. A decrease in bone density can compromise our ability to stand, walk, run, and some of the other daily activities. As well as determine how easily bones are broken. Bone Density values are also used in clinical medicine to predict the risk of acquiring osteoporosis, a disease which involves a diminished concentration of hydroxyapatite. Also, because there have been evidence that other diseases and medications may also cause bone loss, monitoring the bone density in this situation can be very helpful in preventing more harm to the patient.
Another good reason for determining a person’s bone density is because of the proven connection between low bone density and high risk of fractures. These hip fractures or knee fractures due to falls have shown to be a significant problem to many people but especially in elderly women. In addition, these fractures may then lead to expensive medical treatment, inability of the patient to live independently, and even death.
How is it measured?
There are several ways to measure bone mineral density but these procedures are all painless, non-invasive, safe, and are readily available. Bone density is most frequently measured by the use of the dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DXA test. The test usually measures bone density of the spine, hip, or wrist as these are the most common sites of fractures due to osteoporosis. In general, the lower your bone density values, the higher will be your risk in getting fractures. The bone density test results will guide you and your doctor in planning for the best course of action in management and treatment.
Who should be assessed of Bone Density?
Women who are older than 65 years and men who are older than 70 years are the recommended candidates for Bone Density measurement. Younger people who have been undergoing multiple fractures are also good candidates to take the test.
Who are the specialists to consult with?
In general, an orthopedic surgeon has the responsibility of deciding whether you will need to have your Bone Density assessed. The doctor may already have an idea that your Bone density values are low when you present yourself to him or her numerous times with the same fracture complaints. To be certain, he may advise that you take the test. A radiologist can interpret the results once you have been tested. Then, depending on the degree of damage, an orthopedic surgeon or a physical therapist can assist you in terms of treatment and management.