At the Center for Better Bones, Dr. Susan Brown uses the Osteomark NTx urine test to determine if her patients are undergoing excessive bone loss. Here are some of her tips:
- Strive for the average premenopausal value:
36 bone collagen equivalent units/mmol creatinine. (The range is 5–65.)
- To check your progress, do follow-up tests every 6–12 months.
- In general, a number somewhere between 30 to the mid-40’s bone collagen equivalent units/mmol creatinine should indicate a safe amount of bone turnover.
One of the most useful medical tests for bone health assesses the rate of bone breakdown, a process known as bone resorption.
Bone is living tissue where many minerals are embedded. And as bone breaks down, its by-products appear in the urine and blood. By measuring these bone by-products, the N-telopeptide or NTx test is one new way to evaluate the rate at which your bones are undergoing bone resorption.
This test because it provides a dynamic measurement of what is actually happening inside the bone at any given time. Bone density as measured by DEXA, on the other hand, provides a static, snapshot of your bones, and doesn’t distinguish if bone loss is ongoing or not. While a certain amount of bone breakdown is perfectly normal, a high rate of bone breakdown suggests that there may be long-term bone loss and, in time, a greater risk for fracture.
The NTx test can measure N-telopeptide levels in the urine or blood. The box at right indicates a healthy range to strive for. NTx tests are also used by healthcare providers to determine whether antiresorptive medications, such as Fosamax, are stopping excessive bone breakdown.
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