A bone density scan represents one of many tools that modern medicine has given us to help us diagnose and predict disease that may exist in our bodies without being visible on the outside. By using a bone density scan, doctors can help patients avoid or delay serious consequences from osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a very common disease within the bones that develops when the bones don’t have enough density. In turn, they become brittle, weak and susceptible to fracture. In patients with very advanced osteoporosis, the bones can suffer minor breaks after a simple sneeze. Preventing osteoporosis and treating it early is important, as this bone disease is associated with the following complications:
- Serious hip fractures that can cause disability
- Spinal compression fractures
- Severe back pain
- Hunched posture
Understanding Bone Density Scans
The most proven and effective way to detect and predict osteoporosis with a bone density scan. These screenings rely on x-ray technology to measure the amount of calcium in the bone. The more calcium in a bone, the more dense (and healthy) the bone is. If this scan reveals low or decreasing bone density, patients can be alerted that they are at risk for a bone fracture. Fortunately, bone density screenings are a simple, quick and painless procedure that can be performed at your physician’s office in most cases.
Is it Time for a Scan?
If you are considered at risk for osteoporosis, your doctor may suggest a bone density scan as part of your annual physical or checkup. Here are some reasons why you may be asked to schedule a bone density scan:
- You’re a woman. (1 in 3 women develop osteoporosis!)
- You have hormonal imbalances. (Low estrogen from menopause or a hysterectomy increases your risk of osteoporosis.)
- You have nutritional deficiencies. (Inadequate calcium intake or absorption)
- You lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- You’ve lost height. (Loss of bone mass in your spine could make you shorter.)
- You’ve suffered repeat bone fractures.
- You’re 50 or older. (Senior adults are at far greater risk for osteoporosis.)
Schedule Your Bone Density Screening in Santa Monica
The most successful treatment for osteoporosis is detecting this bone disease early, which almost always involves a bone density scan. If you are unsure whether or not you could benefit from this type of screening, please call the office of Dr. Brent Michael. We can offer bone density scans as part of your yearly physicals.