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Bone Density

Osteoporosis

Bone is the scaffolding supporting the body against the forces of gravity and resisting the pull of the muscles to allow movement. Osteoporosis means ‘porous bones’. Bones are made of a thick outer shell and a strong inner mesh, the inside looks like a honeycomb, with blood vessels and bone barrow in the spaces between struts of bone. Osteoporosis means some of these struts become thin or break and the bone becomes porous and fragile. It often remains undetected until the time of a first fracture.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Women – A lack of oestrogen caused by:

  • Early menopause or hysterectomy (before age of 45)
  • Missing periods for 6 months of more (excluding pregnancy) as a result of over exercising or over dieting.

Men – Low levels of testosterone
  

Men and Women:

  • Long term use of corticosteroid tablets
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Medical conditions such as Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative collitis
  • Medical conditions causing immobility
  • Heavy drinking
  • Smoking
  • Being underweight

Having one or more of these risk factors means you have an increased risk of developing Osteoporosis.

DEXA Scanning

DEXA scanning is the most accurate means of measuring bone mineral density (the amount of calcium in the bones).

Low level X-rays are used to measure bone density and the measurements are then compared to an average 25 year old (the average age of peak bone density) and to people of the same height, weight and age on a computer database.