Bone density and osteoporosis. Maintaining bone mass is a priority for adults with OI because fracture risk, in part, is related to bone density.
A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the best way to determine your bone health. BMD tests can identify osteoporosis, determine your risk for fractures, and measure your response to osteoporosis treatment. The most widely recognized BMD test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test. The test is painless—a bit like having an x ray, but with much less exposure to radiation—and can measure bone density in the hip and spine.
An initial DXA test may be obtained at any age and then yearly thereafter. If possible, the same DXA scanner should be used each year to avoid variations in test results caused by different equipment. Bone density can decline as a direct result of OI, from immobilization associated with casts or limited weight-bearing activity, and from age-related changes in bone and the endocrine (hormone) system. Treatments can include calcium and vitamin D supplements (if the diet is inadequate), drug therapies including oral or intravenous bisphosphonates, diet, and exercise. Smoking, overuse of alcohol, and certain medications, including cortisone-like steroids, can also negatively impact bone health.