How Can I Know If My Bones are Getting Stronger?

 
Q: 4 weeks ago I had bone density test and result wasn’t good. My T-score ranges between -1.0 to -2.5. So my health expert suggests me to do some exercise and prescribed me some medications. But due to some busy scheduled I won’t be able to have bone density test. So is there any way by which I can know my bones are getting stronger?
Expert Answer

As we age, we experience various bone health problems. This is because of the fact that around the ages 20 to 25, we achieve peak bone mass and our bodies stop building bones; moreover, it is at the ages 30 to 40 when we start losing bones. Usually, we take our bones for granted particularly because we don’t really see them (except for our teeth) and therefore, it can be a little too late when we learn that we have bone health problems.

Tests to Determine Bone Health

Here are some ways to determine your bone health. These methods could also be used to determine whether your bone health is improving or if your bones are really getting stronger:

Bone Density Test:

Also known as Bone Densitometry or BMD test, the bone density test measures the amount of minerals found in an area (per square centimeters) of your bone. This test is also used to determine one’s risk of acquiring fractures and developing osteoporosis. For those who have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, bone density testing helps in evaluating. how well the body responds to the prescribed medicine for osteoporosis

The BMD test is done through various ways, although the most common way involves utilizing Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA scan and is available in two types – Central DEXA and Peripheral DEXA. Fortunately, such test uses low doses of x-rays.

X-Ray Tests:

X-ray tests are given not to measure one’s bone density but to determine any fracture. When a patient loses around 1 ½ inches of his height, an Instant Vertebral Assessment may be given by the doctor. If this test isn’t available, then an x-ray of a patient’s spine may be asked to determine whether any vertebrae or spine has been broken because of fracture.

Other Lab Tests:

Other laboratory tests may be requested by your doctor especially in determining various bone health problems like osteoporosis. These lab tests include: thyroid test, parathyroid hormone test, male or female hormone measurement, Vitamin D test, calcium measurement in the urine and even blood tests. In cases of osteoporosis, the urine and blood test will help in determining the best possible way to treat it. Overall, these tests will give a more holistic picture of one’s rate of bone loss, fracture risks and even response to prevention/treatment program.

The Nail Test:

The human body has an excellent system of giving warnings about a person’s current health condition. When something inside the body is wrong, it will be manifested externally. The same is with the condition of one’s bone health which can be manifested through his fingernails. Well, this test isn’t exactly a scientific one and isn’t a hundred percent reliable – but this test isn’t new and have been used even then.

In the nail test, there’s a lack of calcium in the bones or poor bone health when the fingernails are brittle, break easily, has white vertical lines and/or has pale white color.

When one’s bones are getting better and stronger, there will also be a change in the fingernails – it will become stronger with a healthy white with a tinge of pink colors. If the eyes are the windows of the soul, then your fingernails can be the reflection of your bone health!

Steps to Prevent Bone Health Problems

A Healthy Diet Rich In Vitamin D And Calcium:

These are two vital nutrients in achieving healthy bones. While calcium is a necessary building-block for bone tissues, Vitamin D functions by helping the body process and absorb calcium. Therefore, a rich diet of green, leafy vegetables is an excellent source of calcium along with Vitamin K, potassium and other important nutrients.

Exercise For Bone Health:

The more you put stress on your bones, the stronger it will get. For stronger bones, strength-training exercise and resistance training are most recommended.

Medications and Supplements:

Vitamin D and calcium are also available in supplements specifically for those who lack these nutrients in their diet – true enough; even the healthiest diets cannot provide all the nutrients one need. Medications for bone loss include bisphosphonates and hormone replacement therapy.

For supplements and medications, it is important to undergo various check-ups to determine what you’d really need.

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Author

Expert Author : Emily Clark (Consumer Health Digest)

Emily Clark is a medical writer with years of experience. She can be found residing in Maywood, Illinois, researching and writing on recent advances in medicine.