Bone Mineral Density

What is Bone Mineral Density (BMD)?

Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is a measure of the amount of minerals in the bones. It is usually measured in units of grams of mineral per centimetre of bone. Bone mineral density is often used to evaluate the effects of aging, nutrition or hormonal changes on bones. BMD test results can help diagnose and monitor diseases such as osteoporosis which can cause bones to become brittle and weak.

Benefits of Measuring BMD

Measuring Bone Mineral Density can help predict the risk of broken bones in the future. It can also detect any existing bone diseases. This test can be a useful tool for prognosis and decision making. Knowing the BMD of a person can help doctors decide what methods of prevention, and if necessary, treatment is best suited.

Factors that Affect BMD

Several factors can affect a person’s Bone Mineral Density test results. These include age, gender, body size, medical history, medications, lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol consumption, and other conditions such as osteoporosis.

Factors that Raise BMD

  • Weight-bearing exercise – helps build bone mass
  • Adequate calcium intake from food or supplements
  • Adequate vitamin D intake through sunlight or supplements
  • Hormonal Replacement Therapy – can help raise BMD in post-menopausal women

Factors that Lower BMD

  • Smoking – reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium
  • Excessive alcohol intake – reduces bone cells’ ability to absorb calcium
  • A diet low in calcium and vitamin D
  • Chronic diseases such as kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease