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Is Your Bone Density Test Valid?


Photo courtesy of las – initially


Loss of bone density can be a real problem.  It can lead to spinal fractures, broken hips and other broken bones with only minor falls.


There is a condition other than osteoporosis that causes loss of bone density but it does it in a unique way.  Instead of the bone loss being in all your bones as it is with osteoporosis, it only happens in a few spots.  These areas are the lower back and the neck of the femur (the big bone in your leg).  This pattern of bone loss happens when you have consistently high levels of the stress hormone cortisol which occurs in about 70% of all women.  Here’s where the story gets interesting.


Many bone density tests only look at the low back or the neck of the femur.  Why would that be?  Perhaps because osteoporosis is relatively rare and hyper-cortisol is common?


The take-away is that for a bone density test to be valid, it needs to include your forearm or shin and not just your low back and femur.  And if all they measure are those two spots, your MD should also have ordered a 4-point cortisol test.


The best defense against bone demineralization is an active lifestyle and strong bones in your youth.  Check out one of my recent blog entries Calcium and Chronic Pain for the dangers of too much calcium.



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