Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle and easily fracture. Women are four times as likely to develop osteoporosis than men. In fact, this disease affects more than 25% of postmenopausal women and 40% of women over 80 years of age.
As with many diseases, the earlier they are detected, the greater the likelihood for successful treatment. A DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scan is a simple, safe and non-invasive test to measure your bone mineral density (BMD) and help determine your risk for osteoporosis. Measuring bone strength can help predict your fracture risk so that effective preventive therapy can be started with your doctor.
How do I know if I’m at risk for osteoporosis?
Bone density testing is recommended for all women over 65 and women over 50 who have the following risk factors:
- Caucasian or Asian ethnicity
- Thin or small build
- Family history of osteoporosis, spine or hip fracture
- Early menopause (before age 45)
- Heavy drinking
- Long term use of acid reflux drugs (proton pump inhibitors)
- Used a corticosteroid for 3 or more months
- Have rheumatoid arthritis
- Inactive lifestyle
You may not have any of these risk factors and still develop osteoporosis. A DEXA bone density test can provide the information your doctor needs to help you know your risk for certain.
What to expect
At Diagnostic Imaging, we use an advanced DEXA bone densitometry system for greater comfort and lower radiation exposure, as well as the ability to more accurately predict fractures due to low bone mass.
The DEXA scan takes about 15 minutes. When you arrive in the scanning suite, the technologist will position you so that you are lying flat on a comfortable, padded table. The technologist will position your arms above your head and may elevate your legs with a cushion. You will be instructed to lie still while the “arm” of the instrument moves above your body. There is plenty of room between you and the DEXA arm so you will not feel confined.
During a DEXA scan, the patient is exposed to a small amount of radiation. Radiation doses are closely monitored and do not exceed stringent guidelines set forth by the American College of Radiology.
The Hologic Discovery DEXA system used at Diagnostic Imaging is one of the most advanced scanners of its kind, enabling highly accurate images with a low radiation dose.
The FRAX® 10-year fracture risk assessment feature calculates the patient’s 10-year probability of hip and other osteoporotic fractures.
The Advanced Body Composition assessment feature calculates body mass index (BMI) to provide additional information for the patient’s health management.