At Accurate Imaging Diagnostics we provide bone mineral density services to patients from Thornhill – Vaughan, and all over the Greater Toronto Area including Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, York Region and Peel.
What is BMD?
A bone mineral density (BMD) test uses a densitometer to measure the amount of mineral per square centimetre of bone. The results of a BMD test can be used as an indicator for osteoporosis and to assess an individual’s risk of a fracture. It is an important tool used to monitor the bone health of individuals who have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis (i.e. post-menopausal women and the elderly).
How do I prepare for a BMD?
Be sure to notify your doctor if you are pregnant, or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
Prior to your exam, you may go about your normal activities; this includes eating normally and taking your regular medications (unless otherwise instructed). Please arrive at your appointment 15 to 20 minutes early so that you have plenty of time to register. Please remember to bring your health card and the list of medications you are taking.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to your exam. Try to avoid clothing with metal detailing, such as buttons, clasps, zippers, underwire bras, and belt buckles. As well, try to avoid wearing body piercings, as they may interfere with obtaining an accurate image.
Do not take any calcium or iron supplements on the day of the exam. Your appointment should not be booked within one week of having a contrast or radioactive exam or within two weeks of having an X-ray exam that involves contrast agents or a nuclear medicine exam.
How is a BMD performed?
During a BMD test, you will be asked to lie on your back on a soft table. The densitometer will then measure the amount of mineral per square centimeter in your bones in order to assess your risk for osteoporosis and fractures. This test generally takes between 15 to 20 minutes and is completely painless.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes your bone tissue to become weak and porous over time – these changes can go undetected until a fracture occurs. Because of this, it is vital that people who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis have regularly scheduled BMD testing done to monitor their bone health. This way, those affected are able to take preventative measures and delay bone health decline.
Risk factors for osteoporosis:
Unchangeable risk factors:
- Gender — Women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men
- Age — Bone density declines with age
- Family history — A family history of osteoporosis increases an individual’s likelihood of developing the disease
- Frame — Individuals with a more delicate bone structure have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis
Hormonal risk factors:
- Menopause — Declining estrogen levels during and after menopause is one of the most significant risk factors for developing osteoporosis
- Thyroid problems — An overactive thyroid can cause decreased bone density
- Other hormonal risk factors — Problems with other hormone-regulating glands can also affect bone density
Lifestyle risk factors:
- Sedentary lifestyle — Individuals who are inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis
- Tobacco use — Using tobacco has been linked to decreased bone density
- Excessive alcohol consumption — Regularly consuming more than two alcoholic beverages per day is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis
- Diet — Individuals who have a diet that is low in calcium are at higher risk of osteoporosis; as are individuals with eating disorders that are calorie deficient
Medication risk factors:
- Corticosteroids — Individuals who use corticosteroid medications long-term are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis
What can you do to prevent or slow the development of osteoporosis?
- Quit smoking — Ask your doctor about smoking cessation programs and strategies
- Avoid drinking alcohol excessively — Drinking alcohol to excess on a regular basis not only decreases your bone density, but also increases your risk of falling, which could result in a fracture
- Eat a healthy diet — A healthy, balanced diet that contains calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, dark green vegetables, salmon, soy products, and beans, helps maintain your bone density
- Vitamin D — Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D from the sun, however you may need to use a supplement to meet your daily requirement, particularly during the winter months
- Exercise — A regular exercise regimen that includes strength training and weight bearing exercises will help build muscle and bone strength, decrease your risk of falls through improved strength and balance, and decrease the wear on your bones (particularly your spine) through improved posture