As we get older it's probably no surprise that our bodies start getting weaker. But are you doing enough to slow down that process? Osteoporosis doesn't have to be in your future, early detection can lead to prevention.
Koni Schiller is a strong and athletic woman but as she's aged her body hasn't fully kept up with her spirit.
"I was going in for my regular check up and she said you're at the age now we should try a bone scan and the bone scan showed that it was less than normal and so I was diagnosed with Osteopenia." Said Schiller.
Osteopenia is the precursor to Osteoporosis. With both conditions, the body is leaching calcium out of the bones leaving them brittle and weak.
"For women, we reach our peak Bone Mineral Density (BMD) at age 30 and at that point and based on genetics based on calcium intake exercise any other underlying medical conditions the process towards osteoporosis starts." Said Dr. Janell Powell, a Women's Internal Medicine Specialist with Avera.
Koni was lucky she was diagnosed before she suffered a severe broken bone. A woman's first bone density scan should be done after menopause, when the body stops producing it's natural hormones that block the onset of bone loss. Like most debilitating conditions the sooner they're caught, the better.
"It's important that earlier on women have bone mineral density scans done so that we can pick up the process and catch it more in the Osteopenia stage so that we can treat with medication work with calcium work with exercise so that they don't advance the point of osteoporosis." Said Dr. Powell.
To check a patient's bone mineral density, or thickness of the bones, doctors use a Dexa Scan. It's a machine that is much more inviting than a CAT scan or traditional X-Ray.
"This was not bad at all, it's not scary at all, you lie on your back and it's over in a few minutes." Said Schiller.
The scan is done on critical bone areas like the hip, spine, and forearms. With the results of the scan, a plan can be made to prevent the condition from becoming osteoporosis.
"So that's where it's very important to continually make sure you're getting your calcium and Vitamin D intake to help and try and prevent the process." Said Dr. Powell.
With a healthy diet and a calcium supplement, Koni has seen her bones become stronger since her first Dexa Scan. Even with this condition, she's not letting it keep her from living and loving life.
"No! I am making it so my life doesn't change and I'm going to be as active at 80 as I am now." Said Schiller.
To learn more about bone health Avera McKennan is hosting a free To-Be-Well session. It's Thursday, May 9th at the Avera Living Well Center at 33rd Street and Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls from 6:30-7:30pm. For more information or to register just call 877-AT-AVERA.