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Bone density scanning

Get the buzz on your bones

Q: I don’t want to end up with osteoporosis like my grandmother. I’m in my 30s, and I know I need to determine my current bone density. What’s the best test for doing this?

Dr. Wright: You probably already know about bone density scanning, since it’s so heavily promoted by mainstream medicine and available at any corner drug store these days. It can tell you whether you’ve gained or lost bone over a prolonged period of time, usually 9 to 12 months or more. But there’s also a simple, inexpensive, “mail-in” urine test, called the NTx test, that can monitor bone loss on a daily basis.

The NTx test checks urine for tiny, tiny breakdown fragments of bone. Bone build-up and breakdown changes every day, so if your test shows too much bone loss, you can start any corrective measures right away.

For further details about NTx testing, you can contact just about any lab that offers it (there are lots of them, all across the country). If you can’t find one in your area, you can always contact the one I’m affiliated with, Meridian Valley Lab (425-271-8689; www.meridianvalleylab.com). Meridian Valley is located in Washington State where, by law, individuals can order their own lab tests.