Bone Densitometry

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is an imaging technology that uses a very low amount of X-ray energy to detect the presence of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that gradually weakens bones, leading to bone fragility and an increased chance of fractures to the spine, hips and wrists. This weakening may be due to aging or caused by other risk factors that combine with age. Often called the "silent disease," osteoporosis rarely shows symptoms until a lot of bone mass has been lost. The most visible symptoms may include loss of height along with curvature of the upper back. 

DEXA scanning can identify low bone density in patients at an early stage, enabling doctors to prescribe appropriate treatment before the condition worsens. Images of the lower spine and hips are most often used in checking for osteoporosis. The test results are then read thoroughly and interpreted by our radiologists.
Who Needs Bone Density Testing?
           
While the disease affects both men and women, 80% of those affected are women. In fact, an estimated 8 million Americans have osteoporosis and an additional 27 million will have low bone mass. Women have a higher risk for osteoporosis than men because women often have smaller, thinner frames. In addition, menopause causes women to produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps protect them against bone loss; 20% of bone mass can be lost in the 5-7 years following menopause. 

 If you're nearing menopause, your doctor or healthcare professional can give you good advice to help you avoid future problems with osteoporosis. If you are post-menopausal, stay in touch with your doctor to monitor your bone health on a regular basis. If you don't know if you have osteoporosis, ask whether a bone density test is right for you. Your doctor will need to refer you for this exam. For your convenience, Bone Density exams can be scheduled along with your mammogram appointment at our facility.

 Lumbar

Factors that may add to the risk of osteoporosis include:
  • Female
  • Caucasian or Asian
  • Advanced age
  • History of bone fracture
  • Small, thin frame
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Post menopause, including early or surgically induced
  • Low calcium diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating disorders
  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
  • Certain medicines (such as steroids and anticonvulsants)
  • Alcohol or tobacco use