So how do you find out what aspects of your bone health are pretty good already, what will be easy to fix, and what will take some real work? Start with a Complete Bone Health Evaluation.
DXA is about 1/3 of the story and should include both hips and spine. When you are as old as I am, the spine probably is too arthritic to be really accurate, but helps complete the picture. If you have had a total hip replacement, you should use the non-dominant forearm.
VFA will pick up many persons at increased fracture risk who are missed by DXA alone. You should ask for VFA, especially if you or a parent have kyphosis (humpback) or have lost height.
The FRAX calculation picks up different individuals at high fracture risk.
Blood tests should include CBC, CMP, TSH, PTH, and 25-hydroxy Vitamin D as a start. Further testing may be needed.
A medical history and examination focused on bone issues is a critical part of the full consultation. We allot a minimum of 30 minutes for discussion. Often a follow-up visit is needed to be sure both we and our patients are clear on the whole picture.
DXA alone misses over half of the individuals who need to improve their bone health. Get a Complete Bone Health Evaluation.
Jay Ginther, MD