Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Although bones may seem like hard and lifeless structures, bones are living
tissues that are like muscle. Bones respond to exercise and a healthy diet by
becoming stronger. Bones make up our skeletons and provide structure and support
for our bodies. However, bones are more than that; they also act like a
storehouse for minerals that our bodies need, such as calcium. During a person's
lifetime, the body constantly breaks down old bone (through a process called
resorption) and builds up new bone. Any time old bone is broken down faster than
new bone is made, net bone loss occurs. Bone loss can lead to low bone density (osteopenia),
weakness of the bone, and eventually osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis (or porous bone) is a disease in which bones become weak and
fragile. Porous bones are more likely to break. Osteoporosis is a serious
disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Without prevention or
treatment, osteoporosis can progress without pain or symptoms until a bone
breaks (fracture). Fractures commonly occur in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Osteoporosis is the underlying cause of more than 1.5 million fractures annually
(300,000 hip fractures, approximately 700,000 vertebral fractures, 250,000 wrist
fractures, and more than 300,000 fractures in other areas). The estimated
national cost (hospitals and nursing homes) for osteoporosis and related
injuries is $14 billion each year in the United States.
Bone Mineral Density TestsOsteoporosis (or porous bone) is a disease in which bones become weak and are more likely to break. Bone mineral density tests check the strength and solidness ...learn more >>
A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures the density of minerals (such as calcium) in your bones using a special X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan. This information is used to estimate the strength of your bones.