06/15/2009 - Questions and Answers

Explaining bone densitometry

By: Novoviva webmaster



I have "minus-3.5 lateral bone loss" of the spine. What does this mean?



We advise you to discuss your results with your own doctor. But here is some general information about bone loss and osteoporosis, which may be helpful to you in consultation.

Bone densitometry reports the density of bone mass.

- T score = 0: no treatment is necessary
- T score = -1: treatment should be considered if you have several risk factors
- T score = -2.5: this signals osteoporosis. Treatment is strongly recommended to stop further bone loss.

You clearly fall into the last category. Osteoporosis is a condition where there is poor calcification of the bones and therefore a loss of bony tissue causing brittle bones that break easily. Lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet, immobility or lack of exercise, early menopause with loss of the hormone estrogen, or excessive thinness are the usual causes, though endocrine diseases, of which diabetes is one, can also be a cause.

Life style changes which one can implement is to exercise adequately or go for regular walks, have a nutritious diet, and avoid smoking or excessive alcohol intake. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs, floor push-ups and wall push-ups, can improve your bone strength and are beneficial, but check with your doctor before embarking on these. Foods rich in calcium are milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon, sardines, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables and broccoli.

Your doctor will likely prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements, a bisphosphonate drug such as Fosamax (alendronate), or a preparation of parathrormone. Hormone Replacement Therapy is a controversial option, once used extensively but now considered risky.

Look at the links below.


Related Links
Calcium and Vitamin D Info.
A New Weapon in the Battle of the Bones
Osteoporosis Affecting the Spine

Created on: 12/31/2004
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009

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