Measuring urinary telopeptides (NTx) is a reliable osteoporosis test, used in research¹ to determine current bone turnover. Bones are constantly being broken down and remade – a process called remodeling. In osteoporosis, the building up is not happening as rapidly as the breakdown phase, resulting in bones becoming weaker over time. This process can be evaluated and monitored by measuring N-terminal telopeptide (NTx). NTx is a molecule that is mobilised from your bones on an ongoing basis and is excreted in your urine.
Who should do the Osteoporosis Test?
This test is particularly indicated if you have, or are at risk of
- Osteoporosis, osteopaenia, osteomalacia, Paget’s disease
- Chronic bone/muscle/joint pain
- Malabsorption – such as Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac disease or other long-standing digestive issues
Assessment of therapy response if you are being treated for osteoporosis,osteopaenia, Paget disease, or other disorders
Assessment of therapy efficacy if you have increased bone turnover due to various conditions such as Rickets, osteomalacia and hyperthyroidism.
What do the Results of the Osteoporosis Test Mean?
Elevated levels of NTx in your urine indicate increased bone turnover. Mild to moderate elevation indicates unbalanced remodeling – a sign of osteoporosis – while markedly elevated levels (>1.5–2 fold) may indicate the co-existence of other bone conditions like osteomalacia.
NTx is well accepted as being useful in evaluating response to interventions to slow or reverse bone loss. A reduction of 50% or more of an elevated NTx at 6 months of treatment indicates a satisfactory response to therapy.
Contact us if you are not certain if this is the right test for you.
How does this Osteoporosis Test Compare to a Bone Scan?
While DEXA bone scans determine the density of your bone and hence degree of bone loss, they have several disadvantages. Firstly they are expensive. Bone scans are a snapshot of the current state of your bones – they are not able to evaluate what is going on right now – it takes about 2 years before you can see if your bones are deteriorating further or if your strategies to build them up are working. DEXA also involves ionising radiation – dangerous stuff. DEXA scans are also subject to operator error and between-machine differences. In contrast, the urinary telopeptides osteoporosis test is relatively inexpensive, gives an indication of the current rate of your bone turnover and is safe and non-invasive.
How is the Osteoporosis Test Done?
The test is a simple urine collection, over a 24-hour urine period. A sample of this is used to determine the levels of NTx excreted over that period. The result is calibrated against your excretion of a well-known dilution marker called creatinine and compared against normal values. NTx levels may vary spontaneously by as much 30-50% for the same individual over 24 hours, hence a 24-hour urine sample is recommended for the most accurate results.
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