Osteoporosis mainly affects women after menopause and can cause a loss of bone mass, which makes your bones prone to breaking and fracturing easily. A DEXA scan is a quick, painless test that helps diagnose osteoporosis and can help assess your risk for developing it.

Am I a Candidate for Bone Density Testing?

You can benefit from bone density testing if you: 

  • Are a post-menopausal woman who is not taking estrogen 
  • Have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture 
  • Are a smoker 
  • Have diabetes, liver or kidney disease 
  • Have a thyroid condition 
  • Take medications that can cause bone loss 

If any of these apply to you, you should talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about getting a bone density test if you’ve never had one. 

Keeping your bones healthy

Bone density testing is part of keeping your bones healthy, along with nutrition and exercise for bone health. 

Eating foods that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D can help keep your bones strong and healthy. Examples are: 

  • Dairy products 
  • Fish 
  • Fruits and Vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens) 
  • Fortified foods (calcium and Vitamin D added) 

If you eat a balanced diet with dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables, you should be getting the recommended amount of nutrients. If you are not getting these from your diet, you may need to take a supplement. Also, limit alcoholic beverages and drink caffeine in moderation. 

Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening activities are key for maintaining bone strength. If you haven’t exercised regularly, check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise program. 

Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact and can include: 

  • Dancing 
  • Doing high-impact or low-impact aerobics 
  • Hiking 
  • Jogging/running 
  • Jumping Rope 
  • Stair climbing 
  • Tennis 
  • Walking 
  • Using the elliptical machine 
  • Lifting weights 
  • Using elastic exercise bands 
  • Using weight machines 
  • Doing body weight exercises 
  • Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes