You might have osteoporosis and not know it. Since symptoms are easy to miss, the disease is typically diagnosed once you break a bone. But by then, your bones are already in a weakened state and you’re dealing with the pain caused by the fracture. Now, thanks to a research team in Japan, there might be a way to detect the disease through a simple at-home osteoporosis test before this ever happens.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects bone mass. Since bones are a living tissue, they are repeatedly broken down and replaced. If osteoporosis develops, this system slows down and old bones aren’t replaced fast enough. This leaves them weak and brittle, and unfortunately, easily breakable. The bones become so weak that they could break from a slight fall or simply bending over. In fact, the word literally means “porous bones,” a phrase that doesn’t inspire much confidence.
To this day, some people living with osteoporosis don’t realize they have it since it doesn’t have big symptoms anyone could notice. It also tends to affect post-menopausal women more. That’s why this study offers some hope towards more widespread detection and treatment.
According to researchers, a simple test of your stride length can help signify whether you might be at risk for the disease. The study concluded that the test “may be an indicator of osteoporosis since it can reflect lower limb power” better than other mobility exams. Once done, the study found 21 percent of participants had latent osteoporosis.
How To Do the Home Osteoporosis Test
To do the at-home osteoporosis test, find an open area and make sure you don’t have anything nearby that you could bump into. Mark the spot where your feet are starting. Then take two large steps forward, as big as you can. Mark where you end up and measure the distance between the two marks in centimeters. Once you have that number, divide it by your height, also in centimeters.
If your resulting number is lower than 1.24, you might be at risk of osteoporosis and should consult your doctor for further testing. According to the study, getting a low result makes you five times more likely to have the disease. This is because shortening steps are a sign of weakening bones. Most importantly, study author Shota Ikegami, MD, says this test can alert women to get more detailed screenings and take steps to reduce their risk of fractures.
If you see a low number after taking the test, try not to panic. Contact your doctor for more testing and make a plan for treatment if you’re diagnosed. The simple two steps could end up saving you from painful fractures down the road.