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While we prioritise the health and functioning of different organs, we often forget to assess bone health. Our regular health checkups should include bone health checkups. Just like other organs, our bones play a key role in the overall functioning of the body. Poor bone health can make them brittle and weak. This increases the risk of fractures from falls. Some of the common bone health disorders include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Rickets
  • Osteomalacia

Osteoporosis mostly affects women post-menopause. However, it can also affect men. In this condition, the bones become very weak and prone to fractures. The bone loses density in this condition. Individuals with osteoporosis experience stooped posture and back pain.

Rickets is a disease that mainly affects children, caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D. This disease weakens the bones and spinal cord, delays growth, and often causes deformed body structure.

Osteomalacia is another bone disease that occurs due to weak bones, which is common in women during pregnancy. Osteomalacia patients can have difficulty walking, experience muscle weakness, pain in the bones and lower back, and bone fractures.

Common signs that indicate your bone health is deteriorating include:

  • Stooped posture
  • Back pain
  • Sudden fracture or crack in the bone
  • Joint pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Abnormally shaped bones

Bone Health Checkup

You should consult a doctor if you feel weak or experience joint pain. Your doctor may suggest a clinical examination, mainly a bone health checkup, to assess your bone health.

The bone tests include blood sample collection for the following tests:

  • Potassium-Serum/Plasma: This test helps determine the potassium levels to identify the cause of electrolyte imbalance.
  • HLA-B27 (PCR): The test diagnoses the presence of HLA-B27, which is associated with bone degeneration, inflammation, and chronic pain.
  • Phosphorus, Inorganic - Serum: This test measures the amount of phosphate in the blood, which plays a vital role in maintaining bone strength. High levels of phosphate have a detrimental effect on bone health.
  • Calcium, Serum: Calcium is an essential mineral for strong bones. However, high calcium levels may weaken your bones.
  • Electrolytes with Calcium: It detects disorders of bones.
  • Calcium, Ionised:  This test measures the calcium that is unattached or "free" from certain proteins in the blood. It helps detect the signs of bone disease.
  • HLA-B27 (Flow Cytometry): This test determines the level of HLA-B27 antigen in the blood. The presence of HLA-B27 may suggest a possibility of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Rheumatoid Factor (RA) Quantitative: This test helps diagnose autoimmune diseases related to the bone joints.

Why Should Individuals Opt for Bone Health Checkups?

During your life, the degeneration of old bones and regeneration of new bones continue. This is a normal process. However, some health factors due to ageing or other diseases may affect this process, weakening the bones. Bone loss occurs when the old bone is reabsorbed, and new bones take time to form.

Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and calcium intake are ideal for maintaining healthy bones. Besides, regular bone health checkups can detect disorders early. This can help in the management and treatment of the issues.