Osteoporosis Awareness: Bone Density Scans Detect Low Bone Mass

May 19, 2015

May is national osteoporosis month. Two million broken bones in the U.S. alone are due to osteoporosis each year, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

 What is osteoporosis?
"Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. Approximately 9 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 43 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk. This means that nearly 60% of adults age 50 and older are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.”
–National Osteoporosis Foundation

Who is at risk for osteoporosis?
Some of the risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Older age, although osteoporosis can occur at any age
  • Female – 80% of people with osteoporosis are women
  • Family history
  • Being small and thin
  • Other diseases like celiac disease, diabetes, eating disorders and rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk
  • Medications 

How do I know if I have osteoporosis?
A bone density scan or DEXA scan (duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry) is a specialized x-ray exam that can detect low bone mass and measure bone mineral density. Measurements are taken at both hips and the spine. The exam is pain free with minimal preparation, and takes less than 30 minutes.

After the exam, a board-certified radiologist reviews the measurements and readings. Your readings will be compared to reference readings taken from adults of your gender while at their peak bone mass. The result of this comparison is called a T-score, which tells you and your healthcare provider how your bone density results compare across the range. This score indicates the risk of fracture.

When measured at a variety of body areas, low bone mass is the most accurate predictor of high fracture risk. Your healthcare provider can offer advice about diet, lifestyle and medication based on your T-score. Treatments are available to increase your done density and slow the rate of loss.

It is recommended that you get a baseline T-score between the ages of 30 and 40.

Bone density testing is available at Suburban Imaging – Burnsville.


Category: Radiology Services

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