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Alexander McMeeking, MD
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Alexander McMeeking MD FACP

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Bone density loss and HIV

One side effect of HIV is bone density loss, something that occurs in men and women suffering from the disease. While it is a condition that can happen naturally, it happens faster in patients diagnosed with HIV; in fact, it can be up to three times faster. It can also be a side effect of some medications. In Midtown Manhattan, bone density test specialists will be able to help you determine if you are having issues with bone density loss due to HIV. Problems with your bone density can lead to conditions like osteoporosis, which makes your bones brittle.

Bone density loss is a sign of osteoporosis, which can leave you vulnerable to severe bone fractures. That increased probability is a symptom in itself, as there are typically no other symptoms involved in the condition. Patients with HIV will be screened for conditions like osteoporosis or osteopenia regularly to determine whether or not they have it. A dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the most commonly accepted method of bone loss testing. There are two different machines used for bone density testing, central DXA machines and peripheral machines. Central machines measure bone density loss in the hip, spine, and total body while peripheral DXA machines measure bone density loss in the finger, wrist, kneecap, shinbone, and heel. A normal bone density is read through T-scores, which is averaged against a healthy 30-year old. Negative one and above is considered normal, low bone density (osteopenia) is between -1 and -2.5, and osteoporosis is considered -2.5 and below. Additionally, a Z-score will compare your bone density to someone of your own age and size.

Testing in Midtown, 10011: Bone density test experts

HIV is tough enough without this additional complication, so of course you want to make sure you’re getting the best bone density tests. For men, testing typically won’t occur until a fracture has already happened or you go to a specialist complaining of back pain. HIV-positive patients will undergo testing earlier, of course, as an increased risk of osteoporosis is part of the condition. A doctor will recommend bone density tests for men if you notice a loss of height, change in posture, or a bone fracture/break. Bone density tests for women, on the other hand, are usually done with more regularity (particularly as they age).

A Midtown Manhattan bone density test center will have the latest DXA technology for testing both men and women. Getting a diagnosis through bone density testing will allow you to begin to treat the condition in the hopes of reducing potential bone breakage.