Coverage, risk factors, options, and cost

Preventive screenings, such as bone density tests, can help identify potential medical problems. Medicare covers some costs.

Bone density tests may help prevent expensive reparative treatments. Medicare generally covers such tests, although there may be other out-of-pockets costs.

This article looks at bone density scans and osteoporosis, including risk factors. It also discusses Medicare coverage of the tests, along with costs.

If a doctor thinks a person may have osteoporosis, they may ask for a bone density scan, which uses an X-ray to measure bone mineral density.

The test may be done in a hospital setting or by using a mobile device. In general, a person will get the hospital test for a hip or spine X-ray, while the mobile test is done on a person’s finger, wrist, or heel. However, the type of test may depend on the community’s access to equipment.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), if the test cannot be done on a person’s hip or spine, then it could be done on a person’s radius bone, which is in the forearm.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes decreases in a person’s bone density, which can lead to fractures of the hip, spine, or wrist following a fall or other trauma.

After a doctor confirms a person has osteoporosis, recommended treatments may include medications and lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D.

Women are more likely than men to experience osteoporosis due to age-related hormonal changes. For example, after menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels drop. Estrogen is one of the hormones responsible for stimulating osteoblasts, which are cells that promote bone growth.

Other osteoporosis risk factors include:

  • lack of bone-building vitamin D and calcium in the diet
  • smoking cigarettes
  • drinking alcohol excessively
  • being sedentary
  • having a too-low body weight
  • having a medical history of a parent who broke their hip

If a person has several of these risk factors, a doctor may recommend a bone density scan.

A bone density test is also called a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The test is a non-invasive, painless X-ray scan of the hip and spine. A person does not need to do or wear anything special to get the test, and the entire scan typically takes 15 minutes or less.

Once a person has had a bone density test, a doctor trained in reading the scans will view the images and use calculations to assign a T-score, which compares a person’s current bone density to that of a healthy adult at age 30. Three T-score categories exist:

  • normal bone density: -1 or higher (such as 0 or +0.5)
  • low bone density: between -1 and -2.5
  • osteoporosis: -2.5 and lower

In addition to receiving a T-score, a person may also receive a Z-score. This is a score that compares a person’s bone density to someone of the person’s similar age and size. These scores are usually more effective in identifying bone density levels in children, teenagers, and younger men

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5 factors make it more likely you’ll suffer long term

Blood collection specialist Niilo Juntunen removes the IV from recovered coronavirus patient Monica Jacobs as she finishes donating convalescent plasma at the Central Seattle Donor Center of Bloodworks Northwest during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global outbreak, in Seattle, Washington, September 2, 2020.

Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

A new study has identified the main factors that make it more likely that patients will suffer long term from the coronavirus.

“Long Covid” is the term given to people who recover from coronavirus but continue to suffer from a wide range of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, migraines and chronic fatigue.

A new analysis by researchers at King’s College London, using data from the COVID Symptom Study app, shows that 1 in 20 people with Covid-19 are likely to suffer symptoms for at least eight weeks.  

The study, published Wednesday, looked at data from 4,182 users of the COVID Symptom Study app who had tested positive for the virus and had been consistently logging their health.

The team found that older or overweight people, women, those with asthma and those with a greater number of different symptoms in the first week of their illness were more likely to develop “long Covid.”

Risk factors

Delving into the risk factors more closely, the study by King’s researchers found that long Covid affects around 10% of 18-49 year olds who become unwell with Covid-19, with the percentage of people affected rising to 22% for the over-70s.

Weight also plays a role, with it affecting people with a slightly higher average BMI (body mass index).

Women were much more likely to suffer from long Covid than men (14.5% compared with 9.5%), but only in the younger age group.

The researchers also found that people reporting a wide range of initial symptoms were more likely to develop long Covid, as were people with asthma, although there were no clear links to any other underlying health conditions.

As for the commonly reported symptoms of long Covid, the research identified two main symptom groupings; One was dominated by respiratory symptoms such as a cough and shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches.

The second grouping “was clearly multi-system, affecting many parts of the body, including the brain, gut and heart,” King’s noted.

Predictive model

The researchers have now used these findings, which are due to be published as a pre-print on Medrxiv (distributes unpublished eprints about health sciences) and have not yet been peer-reviewed, to develop a model that can predict who is most at risk of long Covid by looking at an individual’s age, gender, and count of early symptoms.

The lead researchers, Dr. Claire Steves and Professor Tim Spector, said the research could be used to help target early interventions and research aimed at preventing and treating long Covid.

“It’s important we use the knowledge we have gained from the first wave in the pandemic to reduce the long-term impact of the second,” Steves, a clinical academic and senior author of the study, noted.

“This research could already

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Definition, risk factors, and how to overcome

“Suicidal tendencies” is a term that people sometimes use to describe someone who may be “at risk of suicide.” However, it is not a correct term, as suicide is not a characteristic that a person would have a “tendency toward.”

Someone who is at risk of suicide may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. These can range from vague thoughts of not wanting to exist anymore to being intentional about planning a way to end one’s own life.

Keep reading to learn more about risk factors for suicide and how to overcome them. We also provide some tips on coping with stress and depression.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can call 800-799-4889.

Click here for more links and local resources.

A growing amount of scientific evidence suggests that there may be a genetic link associated with suicide.

A 2012 meta-analysis examined people with a psychiatric diagnosis and noted that those with a certain gene variation had a greater risk of suicidal behavior.

Family studies also suggest some genetic involvement. Researchers who reviewed studies that explored this link highlighted an array of evidence suggesting that relatives of people who have attempted or died by suicide may be at a greater risk of death by suicide than relatives of those who have not.

However, what places a person at risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior is multifaceted. It likely involves an interaction among genetic factors, learned behaviors, and personal circumstances.

That said, it is extremely important to note that if a person has a family member who dies by suicide, it absolutely does not mean that they will too. The data above are purely statistical, and mental health is a complex issue that reaches far beyond the limits of statistical data.

Aside from a family history of suicide, there are many other potential risk factors that may lead to suicidal behavior. Suicide is strongly linked to depression. However, it is important to note that there is rarely one single cause of suicide.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, risk factors for suicide may include:

Health-related factors

A variety of health conditions can increase a person’s risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. These include:

  • mental health conditions
    • aggressive behavior, mood swings, and difficulty maintaining relationships
    • anxiety disorders
    • bipolar disorder
    • contact disorder
    • depression
    • problems with substance use
  • severe physical health conditions, such as pain
  • traumatic brain injury

Environmental factors

External influences that can

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US Coronavirus: Covid-19 cases are climbing in more than half of US states and these factors helped drive the surge

Among them are college and school reopenings, Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told CNN Monday night. But that’s not all.

“I think there’s some, what people might say, pandemic fatigue, in some places people not really following the advice, the public health guidance that’s out there — masking, or distancing, or telecommuting. There’s more people going back to large gatherings, family gatherings.”

And those gatherings will likely multiply as the holidays approach and more people transition indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

Across the country, more than 8.2 million people have been infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic.
At least 18 West Virginia Covid-19 outbreaks linked to church services, governor says
At least 12 states reported their highest seven-day average of daily cases Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, the nation’s seven-day average climbed to more than 56,000 cases — a level not seen in the past 12 weeks. And on Friday, the US reported the most new infections in a day since late July.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise, with at least 14 states reporting peak hospitalization numbers in the last week. And the country has now topped 220,000 Covid-19 deaths, a number some experts worry may also begin to climb faster.

“The numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” Inglesby said. “We see that happening as the weather gets colder, and it’s likely … to get worse.”

Only Hawaii is trending in the right direction

Across the US, at least 31 states are reporting more new cases than the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins data. Only one state — Hawaii — is trending in the right direction.
In a grim prediction for the country, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told NBC on Sunday that the “the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.”

In Illinois, the governor said that while the state remains better off than others across the Midwest, every region of the state “has started to move in the wrong direction.”

Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state

“We can’t wall off Illinois from the surge, but we can take extra precautions and do better than others at following the mitigations that slow the spread,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday. “Let me reiterate what I have been saying for months, ours will not be one of the states that takes no action in response to rising cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.”

In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Saturday the state was experiencing a 101% increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations this month so far.
On Monday, she tweeted if the virus “continues to exponentially spread like last week, New Mexico will not have health care and hospital capacity for every New Mexican who needs care.”

And Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday announced additional measures, including requiring hospitals to reserve capacity for Covid-19 patients as well as more targeted measures for several counties with a higher number

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