Don’t Be Dense About Bone Density
By Norma E. Roth
By now, actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, who carries a BRCA mutation and had a prophylactic oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) in a preemptive strike against ovarian cancer, has most likely had a baseline Dexa scan to measure her bone density. Medical studies show that women who removed their ovaries before menopause experience bone thinning at twice the rate of women who have their ovaries. A Dexa scan is a useful guide for physicians to monitor osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Bone density is a measurement of how dense and strong the bones are. Osteopenia, a condition in which there is reduced bone density, is more common in women than men. Hormonal changes, such as menopause, tend to accelerate the loss of bone mass. Moreover, our bones naturally become thinner as we get older. Women with osteopenia have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. So, just as a baseline mammogram is important for breast health, a Dexa scan is important for bone health.
There are many easy steps to treat osteopenia and prevent progression to osteoporosis. Some effective lifestyle changes include weight-bearing exercise that is proven to maintain strong bones. Your bones will benefit from walking, hiking or even light-weights and elastic band exercises. Diet is also important for maintaining bone density. Foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium will be beneficial along with calcium and vitamin supplements. Remember to discuss with your doctor about changing your diet and exercise program to achieve optimum bone health.
South Jersey Radiology Associates offers the Dexa scan at the Women’s Centers in Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Greentree (Marlton), Turnersville, Voorhees, Washington Township, Cross Keys, and West Deptford.
About Norma E. Roth
Norma E. Roth, a breast cancer survivor, is a freelance journalist for health wellness and sustainable living. She is an advocate for annual mammography screening, believing early detection is the key to cancer survival. You can learn more about her at www.normaeroth.com.