Bone Density Screening
Strong bones are essential to good health. In senior citizens, strong bones can mean the difference between life or death when it comes to falling. As part of our preventive health care services, a simple non-invasive screening can identify those at risk for fractures and easily broken bones.
Bone density screening is not to be confused with a bone scan. A bone scan requires radioactive contrast material to be injected into the bloodstream. Bone density screening is non-invasive and uses a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. Though the screening does involve radiation, the level is much less than the exposure you would receive from a standard chest X-ray.
Bone density devices can be used to measure bone density in the spine or hip. There are also smaller scanning devices that can be used to measure bone density in the finger, wrist or heel of the foot. The device measures the amount of calcium and other bone minerals that are packed into a segment of bone.
Screening for Bone Loss
There are certain conditions that may make a bone density screening advisable. If you have lost at least 1.6 inches, or 4 centimeters, in height, you could have compression fractures in your spine. Osteoporosis is one of the main causes of these types of fractures.
Fragile bones break very easily. For some people, a cough or sneeze can lead to a bone fracture. People on long-term steroid use, such as prednisone, may have bone density issues. The steroids can interfere with the bone-rebuilding processes. Osteoporosis is also common among people who have had an organ transplant or a bone marrow transplant because anti-rejection drugs interfere with bone rebuilding.
Screening for bone density can confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis and help with monitoring treatment. It also helps determine your risk for fractures. Women over the age of 65 are advised to have bone density screening. A younger woman with a higher than normal chance of fracture is also a candidate for a bone screening.
Medications are prescribed for people with osteoporosis. Over time, these medications can help prevent unnecessary bone fractures.
The office of Dr. Brent J. Michael provides bone density screening for those patients who show signs of osteoporosis. Contact us today if you or a loved one could benefit from a bone density screening.