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Did You Know Imaging Can Identify Osteoporosis?

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More than 50 million Americans are living with osteoporosis. This condition interferes with all aspects of your life, making it extremely difficult to enjoy and fulfill even basic everyday tasks. But what if people could detect osteoporosis early enough?

For decades, imaging exams have made a substantial impact in awareness and early detection for those prone to osteoporosis. The right diagnosis is crucial in obtaining the right care. Through the various imaging exams available, diagnosing the damage of your bones and joints stemming from osteoporosis can increase your chances of slowing or delaying progression of those diseases.

Find out how you and your loved ones can get a jump start on living a disease-free life through convenient, imaging exams.

What is an Imaging Exam?

A routine imaging exam allows doctors to get a better look at what is happening within your body. These tests send types of energy (sound waves, x-rays, magnetic fields, or radioactive particles) through your system. The changes in the energy patterns made by your body tissue create a picture or image. These images allow you to see normal body functions and structures in addition to abnormal ones caused by diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, fractures, and other serious conditions.

What Are the Benefits of an Imaging Exam?

Imaging exams allow you and your loved ones insight into what is happening throughout your body. You receive a detailed visual on potentially fatal diseases and conditions that an annual physical exam couldn’t provide. Imaging exams can provide early diagnosis that better the quality of life of those who deal with conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis, and arthritis.

What Are the Types of Imaging Exams?

There is a wide variety of exams available to detect serious diseases and conditions. The most effective and commonly used exams are:

  • Bone density. This is the only way to detect osteoporosis or low bone density. UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's uses the Norland Whole Body DXA Bone Densitometer. Measuring the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone, compares the changes in bone density over a period of time and detects the risk of a potential bone fracture.

  • CT scans. A CT scan provides detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, organs, and fat. This diagnostic tool may be performed to investigate internal bleeding, abnormal masses and blockages. 

  • MRI. An MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnetic, radio frequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This specific diagnostic tool is used to evaluate infections, assess injuries to bones and joints, detect tumors and diagnose various types of cancer.

  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound study is a medical test that is painless and usually non-invasive. It sends short pulses of ultrasound waves through the body and when the transducer is moved around an image of various organs appears on a television monitor. The computer and high-frequency sound waves create images of tissues, blood vessels, and internal organs. Most typically associated with expectant mothers, ultrasounds are also used to study the pelvis, breasts, thyroid, aorta, etc.

  • Digital Mammograms. A mammogram is a preventive screening designed to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. Women should conduct regular breast self-exams beginning in their teens. In their 20s and 30s, women should have clinical breast exams as part of a regular health check-up every three years. Then, starting at age 40 it is important to begin to have yearly mammograms. 

  • Diagnostic Radiology (X-Ray). Also known as an X-Ray, this diagnostic tool uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal bones, tissues, and organs on film. These scans are used to evaluate arthritis, bone cancer, fractures, and osteoporosis. 

How Can the Whole Family Benefit From Imaging Exams?

Imaging services are available for people of all ages and conditions. It is extremely important to follow recommendations for diagnostic tests and to begin as early as possible. This is especially true depending on family history and lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and other habits that can affect your risk of developing osteoporosis and other serious diseases.

Convenient Imaging Services With UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s

Don’t let osteoporosis take over you or a loved one’s life. Take the necessary preventative measures today. Here for every stage of your life, our imaging services offer a full range of quick, pain-free procedures to get a better picture of your health. Ask your physician about scheduling imaging services at St. Luke’s.