Osteoporosis Screening/Bone Densiometry

Osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones brittle, occurs when bone mineral density decreases and bone tissue deteriorates. This leaves the body more vulnerable to bone fractures and broken bones. Osteoporosis affects over 10 million Americans, with women four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. Estrogen deficiency is one of the main causes of bone loss in women during and after menopause. Women may lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years following menopause.

A bone densitometry study by DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) is an accurate way to determine who is at risk, in order to allow treatment before a fracture occurs, or to follow the benefits of therapy in those who already suffer from the problem.

Experts recommend this test for post-menopausal women with risk factors such as family history, women who are 65 years old or older, men or women on corticosteroid treatment (such as prednisone), men or women with a history of fracture not caused by severe trauma, and people with hormonal abnormalities such as hyperparathyroidism.

If you begin a treatment for osteoporosis, bone densitometry is also the best way that your physician can tell if the medicine is helping. Bone densitometry is easy and safe. The study is non-invasive, requires no preparation, and takes less than 20 minutes. The radiation exposure is a fraction of that obtained from a chest x-ray.

For more information about this screening procedure, talk to your doctor. Only a physician can schedule you for this special diagnostic study. The images acquired during your procedure will be reviewed by a radiologist, who will then report the results to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you at your next appointment.

For more information, please call 610-988-HELP.