Bone Densitometry & Osteoporosis

Introduction to Osteoporosis and Bone Densitometry

Bones are hard and solid, providing structure for our muscles and protection of our organs.

Despite their apparent rigidity, bones are living tissue in a constant state of change. Our body continually removes and absorbs old bone while new bone is produced to replace it.

As we age, it is normal for our bones to begin losing strength. Until about age 30, our body removes old bone and replaces it with new bone at a nearly equal rate. After age 30, and especially in women following menopause, the rate of absorbing old bone begins to occur more rapidly than the rate of new bone being produced. Over time, the result is weakened bones, or osteoporosis, and an increased risk of fractures.

Osteoporosis can affect every bone in the body, including the back, hips, wrists and vertebrae. Not only can these fractures be painful and disfiguring, they may reduce your ability to lead an active life.

Characterized by the thinning and increasing brittleness of bones, Osteoporosis accounts for 70 percent of all the fractures occurring annually in people over the age of 45.

Although osteoporosis is typically viewed as a geriatric concern, its prevention spans the entire life course. Some facts you may not know:

Approximately 60 percent of a person’s final bone mass is acquired by the time she or he is 18, and peak bone density is achieved by age 30.

  • One-third to one-half of all postmenopausal women are affected by osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis is of concern for men as well as women.


  • Affects 44 million Americans
  • One in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime
  • No early warning signs (silent disease)
  • Broken bones usually are the first signs (50%)
  • 20% of seniors who suffer a hip fracture die within 1 year
  • 20% of seniors with a hip fracture end up in a nursing home within 1 year

A bone density test at Orthopedic Specialists of SW Florida can help you beat the odds, by helping you learn if you have osteoporosis, if you need treatment and whether you’re at risk for fractures.

We recommend all women over age 50 have a bone density test, regardless of any risk factors. Talk to us today about scheduling yours.

Risk Factors

Osteoporosis has no obvious symptoms but, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, known risk factors include:

  • Age: The older you are, the greater your risk for developing osteoporosis.
  • Gender: Women tend to lose bone more rapidly than men. However, men can also develop osteoporosis.
  • Family or personal history of bone fractures.
  • Race: Caucasian and Asian women tend to be at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis, but this does not exclude the occurrence of osteoporosis among women in other ethnic groups.
  • Menopause: The rate of bone loss increases for women following menopause, due to changes in the body.

Preventing Osteoporosis

Early detection of bone loss is the best strategy for preventing or managing osteoporosis. Bone densitometry is a simple, painless way to test bone strength. Results from this low-dose x-ray test help physicians diagnose osteoporosis, assess any risk for fractures and recommend the best course of treatment for continued bone health.

If under the age of 25, one can attain a higher peak bone mineral density

  • If older than age 25, one can maintain or improve bone mineral density:
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
  • 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise (walking or jogging) three times a week is all it takes
  • Physical activity reduced the risk of bone-breaking falls by 25%
  • Aerobic:
    • Walking
    • Running
    • Cycling
  • Resistance exercises:
    • Weight training
  • Males and females only ingest calcium for storage until age 21-26
  • At that age, the epithelial plate closes and no more calcium is ingested for storage, only for blood maintenance
  • You have reached the peak at this age—the higher the density peaks, the less chance for bone disease
  • After the epithelial plate closes, you must consume 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium/day (even greater amounts if you are older than age 50) to maintain blood levels
  • If not maintained, you body will take calcium from the bone
  • If you don’t drink milk you can get calcium from other foods, including:
    • Cheese
    • Cream soups
    • Custard
    • Pudding
    • Ice cream
    • Canned fish with edible bones
  • Canned salmon, sardines, and mackerel are good choices
    • Milk used in cooking, such as in mashed potatoes
  • Other options are fortified foods, such as:
    • Fortified orange juice
    • Calcium supplements

Calcium Absorption

  • Less calcium is absorbed as you age
  • Many factors may decrease the calcium you are able to absorb from the foods you eat or increase the amount of calcium that comes out of your bones and into your blood
  • Both lower your bone density
  • You only can absorb 300-500 mg in one sitting

What Decreases Absorption?

  • Sodium
  • 2.3 grams (g) excretes 24-40 mg of calcium
  • As dietary protein increases, the urinary excretion of calcium also increases
    • The average intake of protein in the US is two times higher than the RDI
    • Estimated that each 1-g increase would require an additional 5.8 mg of calcium/day to offset the calcium loss
  • Caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
Testimonials Real Patient Stories

"These doctors are the best! Dr. Reynolds always take good care of me and is gentle along with Dr. Flores and Dr. Tafel. I have had nothing but the best experience at Orthopedic Specialists!" - Gwen


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