Ways to Diagnose Bone Health Issues
Author: Virginia Leach
While it is true that bone issues appear more frequently in older people, taking care of your bones when you are younger ensures bone mineral density is as strong as it can be before menopause sets in. This is one of the best things you can do to prevent osteoporosis or a condition when bones become extremely weak, brittle, and likely to fracture.
Suppose your doctor is not proactively mentioning bone health. In that case, it is a topic that you should initiate to make sure that you are doing everything you should be doing to support your bone health. People at risk of developing osteoporosis should have a top-priority bone health discussion with their healthcare provider, even if they do not have any known health issues.
Why Is Bone Health Important for Young Women?
You might be thinking there are other more important things to be worrying about right now at a young age. Creating and sustaining a skincare routine, drinking plenty of water, and getting creative with different types of physical activity are at the top of your priority list. Although this is true, your bones play exceptionally critical roles in your health. Your bones protect your organs and help produce red blood cells. Bones are considered structural organs, and keeping them healthy and strong is necessary for daily activity.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bone Issues?
According to Healthgrades, several signs of bone issues should be known. For example, suppose you experience bone pain, lumps, or even weakness in your bones. In that case, these are meaningful symptoms to share with your primary care physician or oncologist.
Feeling pain in your bones can result from a combination of things such as cancer in the body, issues with one’s circulatory system, continued use, (metabolic) bone disorders, virus, or fracture. For example, lumps may appear due to a bone fracture not healing correctly or arising impromptu. Keeping notes about your health and any changes experienced is an excellent way to track what you notice. Whether this is on a small notepad you own in your bedside dresser or on a notes page on your phone, this will help you remember key things to speak with the doctor about.
Bone symptoms can often occur with other symptoms, heavily depending on underlying diseases and disorders. The following list shows different indicators you may experience from injury in addition to bone symptoms:
- Bleeding or bruising
- Body aches
- Disorientation or loss of consciousness
- Struggle with physical movement
- Muscle aches and pains
- Numbness or prickling sensation
- Visible impairment of a joint or bone
What Are Bone Health Tests and Screenings, And How Can They Be Informative?
Scholars at Johns Hopkins Medicine researched a test to uncover osteoporosis and osteopenia. A bone density test is conducted to “measure bone mineral content and density.” The test can be completed by utilizing “X-rays, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA), or a special CT scan that uses computer software to determine bone density of the hip or spine.” The DEXA scan is thought to be the scan that provides the most correct results.
You might be thinking, “Why can’t I just get X-rays of my bones?” While it’s true X-rays can display weakened bones, the level of weakness may already be too extreme to treat. A bone density test can help find bones at weak and strong points at earlier stages when treatment can be valuable.
The results from a bone density test dictate your bone mineral density (BMD). Once your BMD is taken, a medical provider will compare it against two benchmarks, including (1) the T-score of healthy young adults aged 25-35 of the same sex and ethnicity and (2) the Z-score of age-matched adults. There are two possible results from the bone density test: positive T-scores, which show the bone is stronger than average, and negative T-scores which show the bone is weaker than average.
The Tigerlily Foundation is committed to your health and wellness journey. Be proactive about your bone health, and always seek guidance from your physician, oncologist, or physical therapist on ways to improve your overall health and lifestyle.
Amgen. “Know Your Bones.” Amgen, 8 October 2018. https://www.amgen.com/stories/2018/10/know-your-bones.
Better Health Channel. “Osteoporosis.” Better Health Channel, 3 April 2019. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis.
Healthgrades Editorial Staff. “Bone Symptoms.” Healthgrades, 13 December 2020. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/bones-joints-and-muscles/bone-symptoms#symptoms.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Bone Densitometry.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/bone-densitometry