To check for osteoporosis, we use a special X-ray method called bone densitometry testing, also known as DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry). DXA is used to evaluate bone loss and to diagnose and monitor osteoporosis.
During a comprehensive bone densitometry, you remain still on a padded table while the DXA equipment scans one or two areas of your body. The hip and lower spine are the typical areas of bone evaluated; together, they take about 10 minutes to scan. For your comfort, you should avoid wearing clothing with zippers, rivets, or other metal around the spine or hip areas.
Bones naturally lose their density and strength gradually over time. In people with osteoporosis, this process happens faster. The result is an increasing risk of fracture, particularly in the spine, ribs, hips, and wrists.
Women and men can develop osteoporosis at any age, but it is most common in post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis poses a serious health threat to 43 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. Half of all women after menopause are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Most bone loss occurs during the first ten years after the onset of menopause. That’s why it’s critical to detect and treat bone loss during these years.
In addition to age, several factors can increase your osteoporosis risk. They include:
The best way to detect bone loss is a quick and painless process called bone densitometry testing. Unlike a standard X-ray, densitometry can measure even very small amounts of bone loss.
We recommend a test for the following individuals:
Treatment may include changes to your diet, calcium and vitamin D supplements, exercise, and/or prescribed medications. All of these methods can lessen your risk of fracture and the resulting pain, expense, and danger.