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Early detection and diagnosis
Osteoporosis often remains undetected for a long time. It is only when a fracture occurs that people take notice. Yet constant back pain, for example, can be an alarm signal for anyone over 60. Our bones form the basis for the shape and statics of the human body. If the skeleton weakens, it first affects the back. Arthrosis can also be a warning signal. You can quickly and easily determine the risk of developing osteoporosis.
X-ray for bone density measurement (DXA)
Osteoporosis is often diagnosed by measuring bone density with X-rays (DXA). On the X-ray, changes in the bone structure are only possible at an advanced stage. The result of such a measurement is the T-score. It indicates how far the measured bone density deviates from the standard value of healthy bones. For clarity, this measurement method shows the result in traffic light colours:
Green: T-score above -1, your bones are healthy.
Yellow: T-score between -1 and -2.5, your bone density is reduced (osteopenia). You should take measures to prevent further deterioration
Red: T-score below -2.5, you have osteoporosis and are at risk of fracture. Together with your doctor, you should take steps to strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of fracture.
Good to know: The T-score alone is not meaningful enough to detect the onset of osteoporosis. The onset of excessive bone mass loss cannot be shown on the X-ray, or only to a limited extent. The X-ray procedure reaches its limits in early detection and only detects osteoporosis in about 50%* of all cases.
Alternative test methods with blood and urine
Osteoporosis only shows up in imaging procedures when it has already reached an advanced stage. The radiation-free diagnostic procedure in the form of a blood and urine test, such as the osteolabs early test, takes effect much earlier. It determines the calcium ratios in the bones. In addition, the osteoTest | med uses laboratory values of creatinine, cystatin C and eGFR to assess kidney function and optionally determines the body's vitamin D supply. All values together allow early detection of osteoporosis at a time when no trace of the disease can yet be seen in imaging procedures such as a CT scan.
After a positive diagnosis and with the start of therapy, osteoporosis should be checked every one to two years with a new bone density measurement. Doctors advise women over 50 to undergo early diagnosis so that treatment can be started in time. In this way, bone loss can be slowed down and fractures can be prevented or at least delayed.
Osteoporosis therapy depends on the stage of the disease: In a very early stage, a healthy diet with sufficient vitamin D and calcium in combination with regular exercise is often sufficient.
In the next stage, your doctor will try to stop the bone loss with the help of medication. There are different treatment methods to choose from for this:
Hormone replacement therapy should only be given after thorough consultation with a doctor and gynaecologist, usually in patients after the menopause, because of the risk of a higher risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart attack, thrombosis.
Selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERM)
These modulators are similar to oestrogens and can therefore inhibit bone loss, but they are not hormones. They are also recommended for patients after menopause.
Therapy with antibodies requires little discipline from the patient, as the drugs are injected twice a year and also inhibit the cells that break down bone. The drugs are highly effective, but therapy must be discussed in detail with the treating doctor.
They can slow down the bone-degrading cells and reduce the risk of fractures by half if the tablets are taken correctly over several years.
For bone fractures
In this procedure, the bones are filled and reinforced with cement shot in under high pressure. Advantage: The patient gets out of bed quickly after an operation.
In this procedure, the bones are first aligned by a balloon catheter and then stabilised with bone cement: Advantage: Less pain, short operation time, fast recovery of the patient (no long lying down time).
Whether you are treating osteoporosis preventively or acutely, it is important to check regularly whether the treatment is working and the bone is becoming denser and more stable again. This is the only way to see whether the right remedies are being used or whether further measures need to be taken.
Our tip: A follow-up test with the OsteoTest | home provides real certainty as to whether the therapy has a lasting effect.