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Bone Up on Bone Density Tests!

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These past several years, whenever I had occasion to visit my grandmother, I wondered if, as I stood next to her, I was getting taller or she was getting shorter.

Well, I know that in my early 40s, I clearly was not getting any taller. She was definitely shorter than I remembered, and when my youngest son, age 11, was standing next to her recently, it was evident that my grandma has been affected by osteoporosis. However, at nearly 105-years of age, she truly does not mind this at all. “I can get up by myself and walk by myself. I have lost some hearing and a bit of sight….and even a few inches, but I have not lost my appetite for food or for life!” Well said, Grandma!

Grandma has been disciplined over the past several years to make sure she has a bone density test performed on her on per her doctor’s orders. She knows that osteoporosis refers to the thinning of her bones. “Why can’t it just be the thinning of my body instead of just my bones?” she muses. I know she is in the late afternoon of her life, but at what age should I think about having a test done to determine my bone health?

According to About.com and its orthopedics section, “The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends a bone density test at least once for all women age 65 and older.” Okay. I have another 20 years to go on this one. However, I am sure that there are certain risks factors of which I should be aware that might increase my risk of osteoporosis.

As I perused the information on About.com, I met the first criteria: being female. Other risk factors include, but are not limited to, advanced age, being Caucasian or Asian, leading an inactive lifestyle, smoking cigarettes, drinking excessively, and having a family history of the disease. Aside from being female, I am Caucasian and now have a family history of osteoporosis.

Curious about what exactly a bone density test is, I researched further. Sure, I have 20 years to go yet, but I like to be prepared. However, I am well aware that over the next two decades, things can change dramatically in terms of technology and treatment options.

Add a Comment9 Comments

I had a bone density test about a year ago after a slight stress fracture in my ankle. It was easy, simple, painless and fast. One of the easiest tests I've ever taken for anything (and I can be a bit of a wimp inside, LOL). Anyone whose doctor requests this test should gladly go -- you get an assessment of your bone density that you wouldn't get any other way. No fear.

August 17, 2009 - 9:29am
EmpowHER Guest

I love the information and the great attitude. I think she should be everyones Grandma.

August 15, 2009 - 8:16am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You can borrow her anytime! She treats everyone like one of her own...and if you have any chocolate on you, you just might have found a friend for life!

August 15, 2009 - 8:59am

My grandmother had bone cancer, so we're a little sensitive about bone issues, in my family.

Thank you for the explanation of the scans. This makes them less intimidating to people who might not know what to expect.

102, eh? Wow!

August 14, 2009 - 5:34pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to alysiak)

Thanks for the reply! Grandma is actually now approaching her 105th birthday....to her, those spills occurred when she was but a "young thing!"

August 14, 2009 - 7:14pm
(reply to Anonymous)

There are a couple of 100+ year olds in my hubby's family. They live in the hill country in Virginia, and it must be all that clean mountain air and exercise that keeps them going.

A "young thing" - what a great sense of humor your grandmother must have!

August 14, 2009 - 7:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to alysiak)

She does....just check out this You Tube video on her: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36SACspVO_8

August 14, 2009 - 7:24pm
(reply to Anonymous)

That was great! What a terrific tribute to your lovely grandmother. :))

Her longevity must be due to planning her next vacation, LOL!

August 14, 2009 - 7:35pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to alysiak)

Yep! She wants to go on a cruise next summer! I just have to keep her off of the topless deck! At this point, she could possibly frighten a few folks!

August 15, 2009 - 6:58am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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