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We reach our peak bone mass during our 20s. By our mid 30s we lose a little more bone mass than we are rebuilding each year. The more bone mass we have in our 20s and early 30s, the less likely we are to develop osteoporosis.

Bone density screenings are designed to help determine if you are at risk for the development of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Early detection is important in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Who Should Undergo Bone Density Testing?

According to National Osteoporosis Foundation, there are several groups of people who can benefit from bone density testing:
  • Postmenopausal women below age 65 with risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Women aged 65 and older
  • Women with medical conditions associated with osteoporosis
  • Men age 70 or older
  • Men ages 50-69 who have risk factors for osteoporosis

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of a Bone Density Test?

Many health insurance companies cover the cost of a bone density test. Medicare covers the cost of screening for patients over age 65 with certain conditions.

How Is a Bone Density Test Performed?

DEXA scanning is a hospital-based evaluation of the density of the lumbar spine and femurs, and is considered to be the “gold standard” of testing. Widespread osteoporosis testing and diagnosis is often limited by high cost and inconvenience.

At Parkway Family Physicians, we use an AccuDEXA portable bone densitometer to evaluate bone density in the hand to screen for overall bone density.  This is a cost-effective, low-radiation alternative to formal DEXA scanning shown to be positively and significantly correlated with hip bone density.  If osteoporosis is suggested, we follow up those results with a recommendation for formal DEXA scanning.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 05:05

Maintaining Healthy Bone Density

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Maintaining Healthy Bone Density

It is estimated that over 50 million American adults have low bone density or osteoporosis. One in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis.

The health implications of low bone density

Weak bones decrease the ability to do daily activities and broken bones, particularly major breaks such as hip fractures, can cause disability and ongoing pain. Osteoporosis, which means “porous bone,” is a disease that leads to fractures and breaks due to loss of bone mass and strength.

Risk Factors For Osteoporosis

  •  Being over age 50
  •  Being female
  •  Menopause
  •  A family history of osteoporosis
  •  Low body weight/being small and thin
  •  Broken bones or height loss
  •  A diet low in calcium and vitamin D
  •  Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  •  Consuming too much sodium and caffeine
  •  Having an inactive lifestyle
  •  Smoking
  •  Drinking too much alcohol
  •  Weight loss
  •  Certain medications
Taking steps to improve bone health

Preventing bone loss starts as early as childhood. Children who do not get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D while their bones are developing can have bone density problems starting later in adolescence and young adulthood.

Get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet by drinking milk or eating calcium-rich foods such as cheese, yogurt, almonds and broccoli into your diet.

Regular, weight-bearing physical activity is also very important. Running and walking are the best weight bearing activies, swimming and biking are not.

When to see a doctor

Bone density testing is recommended for certain individuals who are at greater risk for osteoperosis:
  • Postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Men between the age of 50-70 who have risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Women age 65 or older, even without any risk factors, a man age 70 or older, even without any risk factors or a woman or man after age 50 who has broken a bone.
Bone density tests are simple painless and covered by most insurance plans and Medicare. Knowing the strength of your bones can help your physician recommend steps, and medications if necessary, to prevent additional bone loss.

4 Tips For a Healthier and Happier Holiday Season

The holidays are a time of year when we all want to feel our best. But they can also be a time when our health can be comprimised by colds and flu, stress and over indulging in holiday treats.

Here are 5 tips to stay healthy this holiday season:

1. Avoid Germs

Most cold viruses are spread from hand to mouth. When traveling by air or out at the mall shopping and dining during the holidays, there are coutless points of contact with germ covered surfaces. By carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and using it regularly, you can reduce the risk of catching a cold.

2. Stay Hydrated

Low humidity during the winter months makes our airways more prone to viral and bacterial infections. Flying on airplanes and traveling to high altitudes further decreases the humidity in the air.

Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine will keep your mucous membranes moist so they can better keep the germs out of your system. When flying, drink 8 ounces of water for every hour you're in the air.

3. Eating Healthy

The holidays are time when we want to endulge in holiday treats food and deal the consequences of a few extra pounds until after the new year. To control over your caloric intake, use a salad plate to keep the portions smaller. Sucking on hard candy will add fewer calories than rich cookies or cakes.

4. Stay Well Rested

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who slept at least eight hours nightly were about three times less likely to catch a cold than those who snoozed for less than seven. Staying rested will help your body's immune system fight off infections, reduce your stress level and improve your mood.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 00:00

Experience The Health Benefits of Walking

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Experience The Health Benefits of Walking

Physical activity doesn't have to be a complicated. Taking a daily, brisk walk is a great way to improve your health and well being.

Walking has many benefits, including:
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduces your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthens joints and bones to reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Can improve your mood
  • Improves balance and coordination
Getting Started

Start your walking routine with the right gear. Make sure your shoes have proper arch support and sufficient cushioning. If you walk in the early morning or evening, wear clothing with reflective tape for visibility. Start by walking slowly for several minutes to warm up your muscles. Finish your walk by slowing down for several minutes to help your muscles cool down. Stretching can be performed prior to your walk or after the cool down.

Walking Technique

To gain the most benefit from walking, walk as briskly as you are able to do comfortably. Maintain a straight, yet relaxed posture, looking forward not down at the ground. Roll your feet smoothly from heel to toe.

Maintaining A Walking Routine

For healthy adults, 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity is recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you haven't been exercising regularly start slowly with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.

Keeping track of the distance you walk (or how many steps you have taken using a pedometer) will help motivate you to continue by tracking the progress you are making over time. Those short daily walks will add up to many miles over the course of a year.

By starting small with realistic goals you'll be surprised how quickly walking becomes part of your daily routine while controlling your weight and gradually improving your overall health and sense of well being.

To go to school in Minnesota, students must show they’ve had proper immunizations.

For children, we recommend starting immunizations early to provide protection for our young and most vulnerable as many diseases prevented by vaccines are very often more serious in young children.

Get your children ready for school by making sure they are up to date on their immunizations. Schedule an appointment early.

Make Sure Everything Is Okay

Parkway Family Physicians provides school and sports physicals for athletes and students of all ages. No matter which sport your student athlete plays a sports physical is required to make sure they’re in top shape and healthy enough to participate safely.

Beyond The Athlete’s Physical

Parents want to know that their children are healthy and thriving both physically and developmentally. The best way to do that is to make sure your kids receive an annual physical as part of the back to school routine. Not only will we do a thorough physical examination, we’ll also make sure all immunizations are current.

At Parkway Family Physician we're focused on providing your child with quality care and a great experience each time they visit our clinic.

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