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John Muir Health offers comprehensive services for preventing and treating osteoporosis. We work with you every step of the way, including education, diagnosis, and treatment.

About Osteoporosis

All bones gradually lose their density and strength over time. With osteoporosis, the time frame for this loss is greatly accelerated, increasing the risk of fractures—particularly to the spine, ribs, hips, and wrists.

Women and men can develop osteoporosis at any age, but it is most common in post-menopausal women.  

Risk Factors
  • Advanced age
  • Personal history of fractures after age 50
  • Family history of fractures or osteoporosis
  • Low peak bone mass at maturity
  • Low body weight and /or small frame
  • Inactivity
  • Low calcium intake and / or vitamin D deficiency
  • Smoking
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Use of corticosteroids or other high-risk medications
  • Early onset of menopause or diminished activity of the ovaries or testes
  • Medical conditions such as ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism, and kidney failure
Osteoporosis Testing Recommended For:
  • Women 65 and older
  • Men 70 and older
  • Postmenopausal women with other risk factors
  • Adults with fractures from incidents in which healthy bones would not be expected to break
Bone Density Exams

To check for osteoporosis, we measure your bone density by performing a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, sometimes pronounced "dexa". Unlike a standard X-ray, the DXA scan is highly effective at measuring even very small amounts of bone loss.

Our bone health and medical imaging departments use state-of-the art scanners. The technologists performing the scans, as well as the radiologists and medical director interpreting the scans, have all undergone extensive training and are certified by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry.

What to Expect

On the day of the exam, you may eat normally. You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.

During a DXA scan, you lie still on a padded table while the machine scans one or two areas of your body, typically the hip and lower spine.  The scan takes about 10 minutes. For your comfort, we ask that you wear loose, comfortable clothing and that you avoid garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. Objects, such as keys or wallets that would be in the area being scanned, should be removed.

Exercise Class

We offer a weekly Movement and Exercise class, led by a John Muir Health physical therapist. The class teaches techniques and safeguards to prevent falling, as well as strategies for managing osteoporosis and other chronic pain.


Before scheduling an appointment, you will need a referral from your primary care physician. Some health plan companies may require prior authorization. So, please be sure to check with your health plan.

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