Bone Density and T-Scores: What are they, and Why You Should Care...
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mineral density. Called the “silent thief”, osteoporosis causes bone deterioration over time, often without showing any symptoms, until a fracture occurs.
A fracture on its own is not sufficient to diagnose someone with osteoporosis - bone mineral density needs to be assessed before an official diagnosis can be made.
When we talk about bone density, we’re referring to how porous a bone is and its ability to hold up against stress. Bone remodeling is a dynamic process where bone is continually broken down and then built back up. When the bone breaking down starts to happen at a greater rate than the rebuilding, we lose bone density, making our bones weaker and more susceptible to fracture.
How do I know I have Osteoporosis?
Bone Mineral Density (BMD) testing helps us determine if someone has low bone density or osteoporosis, and helps to evaluate fracture risk.
So how can you understand your bone mineral density (BMD) test results?
BMD is measured using T-scores which are expressed as a Standard Deviation.
A Standard Deviation is the unit that measures the difference between your score and what is considered normal for a young adult.
A minus (-) in front of the number indicates a score below average. Scores are given for different areas measured (total hip, femoral neck, spine).
A T-score between -1 and -2.5 indicates low bone density, also called osteopenia.
A T-score below -2.5 indicates osteoporosis
A T-score greater or equal to -1 is normal.
How do I determine my risk for a fracture?
Knowing an individual’s BMD does not give us the full picture. To properly treat and manage osteoporosis and low bone density we need to take into account a number of important risk factors.
Risk factors such as age, gender, fracture history, medications, other conditions and diseases, parental hip fracture history, smoking, alcohol usage and BMD are used to assess an individual's 10 year fracture risk using the CAROC and FRAX tools.
Fracture risk helps to inform treatment and helps to guide the type of activities and exercise you should be doing, and which exercises and activities need to be modified. Take the quiz at Osteoporosis Canada to know your risk for fracture.
Clinicians may use additional assessment measures to guide and track progress.
Measuring height, rib-pelvis distance, wall-occiput distance, Reedco posture score and Flexicurve spinal measurements help us to track compression in the spine and changes to posture which can indicate progression of osteoporosis and/or a possible spinal fracture.
I have Osteoporosis - Now What?
Many clients come through our doors with a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis and don't know where to start. BMD results and its implication for exercise and daily activities aren’t always explained. We’re here to help you understand your results and educate you on next steps and exercise management options.
Our staff are Bone Fit ™ trained by Osteoporosis Canada and that means we understand the do’s and don'ts of living well with osteoporosis. With our guidance, you can modify how you move, how you exercise and how you enjoy life….all while taking care of your bones!
Call or book online for an assessment by one of our Bone Fit ™ trained therapists. We’re here to help you move well, live well, be well with osteoporosis!