Osteoporosis Screening

spinal bones
 

Why is bone health important?  Our skeletal system is designed to support our bodies for a lifetime, and bone health is an important way to insure that it does.  From childhood until age 30, bone is formed faster than it is absorbed.  After age 30, the process works in reverse.  As more bone is lost than is formed, bones become thin and brittle, known as osteoporosis.  This can be a special threat for women.  Estrogen, a female hormone, protects against bone loss and hormone therapy can slow bone loss after menopause.  One in two women 50 years and older will have a fracture in their lifetime.

Weight-bearing exercises such as aerobic (low impact or step) and brisk walking and tennis and choosing foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D and help slow bone loss.  When taking calcium supplements, be aware that your body will only absorb 500 mgs. of calcium at a time.  Most people need at least 1,000 mgs of calcium daily, so be sure to divide the recommended intake into two doses.

If you have osteoporosis, the following steps will help you to avoid falls:

  • Learn good posture,
  • Avoid twisting, bending, and lifting,
  • Remove throw rugs or use rugs with nonskid backing,
  • Make sure rooms are well-lit,
  • Use handrails by stairs and in bathrooms,
  • Check and correct vision and balance problems, and
  • Review medications for side effects that may affect balance

You should have a physical exam once a year during which your height is measured and all women 65 and older or young women who have had a fracture should have a bone mineral test (DXA) every two years.  This test will determine whether you have osteoporosis, your rate of bone loss, and your risk of future fracture.

Please Note: Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) can be performed only with a referral and should be scheduled by your physician.

 

Preparation for the study:

  • Please consult your physician’s office to schedule DXA screening.
  • Do not take vitamins or calcium supplements for 24 hours prior to the test.