T-Score, Z-score what’s all the fuss?
I never really thought about how my bones were faring. I raised and hauled around my 3 kids in my twenties and thirties, took a lot of high impact aerobic classes, and felt I got adequate calcium in my diet. So when my doctor prescribed a bone density test (Osteoporosis Screening) in my forties, telling me that thin women have a higher propensity for bone fractures, I went along with it, especially since she included me in the thin women category.
The results came back within the normal range, and my doctor told me to keep doing whatever I was doing, because it was working. So what was I doing at this time? The answer is yoga. I didn’t know then that as I was practicing the Warrior poses, Triangle, Side Angle, Plank and Vinyasas, I was building my bones. Yoga has proven to help reverse bone loss! (Yoga for Osteoporosis: A Pilot Study, Fishman,Loren M. Md., Phil(Oxon) So cool; something I loved doing was helping me stay younger!
You see, weight bearing exercises where you hold up your body up against gravity help improve bone strength. So many of the yoga poses, in particular the standing poses, make us resist gravity. This puts a mild stress on the bones, and the stress forces bones into laying down new growth. By opposing one group of muscles against another, osteocytes, or the bone making cells, are stimulated.
Again, cool news!
Every so many years the doctor prescribes another scan to compare results. I began reading the reports and learned about a T score and a Z score. Yup, getting a little nerdy about a medical report.
A score of -2.5 or lower is not a good T Score. –1 to 4+ gets you a happy face. The Z-score again, compares you to others.
A T-score on your bone density report shows how much your bone mass differs from the bone mass of an average healthy 30 year old. Ah, now that was interesting, and because of my dominant A personality, I had to compare. I know, I know, yoga is not a competition, but we’re talking about bones here. Mine was +.2, meaning my bones are like a 30 year old. What a confidence booster! Ahem, I’m a Baby Boomer with 4 grandbabies. Can I shout that out from the rooftops, mountaintops, maybe just the front step?
The Z-score on your bone density report compares your bone density to others of the same age and sex. Oh, you bet I was going to check out my standing. My Z-score placed me in the top 90% of women my age. I guess, you can now see how reading these results gets addicting, especially if you see improvement from test to test.
Now, I can’t erase the wisdom lines, i.e., the wrinkles, but I can walk around, heck dance around, knowing my bones are young!
Moreover, yoga increases the internal support of bones, helping to resist fractures. Add this to the pros of yoga being great for improved coordination and balance, and the ability to stay upright and not fall down, yoga rocks the bones, no bones about it!