Bone densitometry is an important tool in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. The information obtained from the test is used to determine a risk factor for potential fracture or to establish a baseline when treating osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects more than half of women age 65 and over. The disease itself thins and weakens the bone tissue, mass, or density causing the bone to become fragile and more likely to break. If left untreated it can progress into a painful and debilitating condition that affects 25 million Americans.
Who is at risk?
Virtually everyone experiences some bone loss after age 35. Women also often have accelerated bone loss during menopause, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Other risk factors:
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Low dietary calcium intake
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Caucasian or Asian heritage
- A thin, small-boned frame
- Early menopause, either naturally or surgically occurring before age 45
- An inactive lifestyle with little to no exercise
- The use of certain medications
Currently DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scanning is the method of choice for assessing bone mineral density. DEXA scanning uses a minuscule radiation dose, is very precise, and can easily be reproduced for evaluation of the rate of bone density loss between testing. A DEXA scan uses measurements from both the femoral neck (a part of the hip where most hip fractures occur) and the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is measured because the spine is usually the first area to experience a loss of bone mass.
DEXA is offered by appointment and can be performed at the same time as your mammogram if desired.
Please contact the Imaging Services department for scheduling or questions at (319) 481-6369.